Bougainville govt confident of achieving three presidency terms

1:19 pm on 2 March 2020

The Bougainville government remains confident it can still have the constitution changed to allow incumbent president John Momis to run for re-election this year.

Bougainville President John Momis

Bougainville President John Momis Photo: supplied

Mr Momis is reaching the end of his second five-year term, and the current constitution forbids him from running for a third.

His supporters want him to see through negotiations with Papua New Guinea after last year's referendum saw Bougainvilleans overwhelmingly support independence.

An attempt by the government to pass a constitutional amendment failed narrowly last week, and Mr Momis' supporters have taken his bid to the Supreme Court.

Minister for Peace Agreement Implementation Albert Punghau believed it was a matter of Mr Momis's democratic and human rights.

"The door was open for the other candidates except President Momis, and that's why his human rights as a citizen, as a person of Bougainville and also Papua New Guinea, not to be given that opportunity to run just like any other candidates."

However, the MP who led opposition to the constitutional change, Francesca Semoso, said two terms of five years was enough.

"The people said no. They said two terms is enough for any president to stay in office. So the people of Bougainville have spoken," she said.

She said Mr Momis could fill a role as the lead negotiator for Bougainville in the talks with PNG over the referendum.

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