Bougainville's Momis loses bid for another tilt at leadership

1:25 pm on 30 May 2020

The quest by the President of Bougainville, John Momis, to run for the post again has failed.

Bougainville President John Momis

Bougainville President John Momis Photo: supplied

The Papua New Guinea Supreme Court has upheld a majority vote in the Bougainville parliament in February not to change the Constitution to allow presidents to hold the role for a third term.

Mr Momis, who has been president for the past two five-year terms, had sought a Supreme Court reference, saying being stopped from running denied him his constitutional rights.

He also said many people had urged him to run to ensure the negotiations over the outcome of last year's referendum on independence went well.

But some MPs argued Mr Momis, who has suffered ill-health in recent years, should make way for someone with a new approach.

One of those MPs, Francesca Semoso, from the North Bougainville women's seat, celebrated the ruling on social media.

"Decision finally delivered by the Supreme Courts, our Constitution still triumphs and democracy lives. God bless our lovely homeland."

One of a number of people who have already announced their intention to run is James Tanis, who was president from 2008 to 2010.

He took to facebook saying, "I must assure you that you have lost nothing but just succeeded again by testing the Resilience of the Bougainville Constitution and its consistency with the PNG Constitution."

Earlier Mr Momis had said if the Supreme Court turned down his application he would be happy to go into retirement.

It would signal the end of a political involvement going back to the 1960s.