10 Apr 2020

Decision on Bougainville elections set for next week

6:26 am on 10 April 2020

The Bougainville parliament is set to decide next Thursday when to hold the general election.

The poll has already been delayed one month after a decision not to issue the election writs because of Covid-19.

This followed the initial state of emergency over the coronavirus, which this week was extended a further two months.

But the Minister for Peace Agreement Implementation, Albert Punghau, said many MPs are keen to see a new government put in place, not least so negotiations on the outcome of last November's referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea can begin.

Next Thursday the autonomous Bougainville Government will meet and Mr Punghau said a decision is likely on the election date, which he said is now likely to begin on June 8th.

Polling and campaigning will then occur during the state of emergency, but Mr Punghau said candidates will be mindful of the need to maintain distance and other factors, to comply with the State of Emergency.