Too many seeking Bougainville top job - MP

3:43 pm on 10 June 2020

A Bougainville women's MP says 23 people running for president is too many and she would rather there were just five or six.

The candidate line up includes a Papua New Guinea MP, a former Bougainville Speaker, a young businessman, the head of the national weather office, two former leaders of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and a man who was President of Bougainville 10 years ago.

Francesca Semoso

Francesca Semoso Photo: Pacific Women in Business

The election is not until August and nominations don't start until after the writs are issued next week, so more candidates are possible.

But Francesca Semoso said it's a tough job and the candidates needed to be well versed in what was required.

"Whoever becomes the president has to know the real Bougainville situation, to understand what the politics is all about, what the people are thinking," she said.

"It's the people's expectations that we need to manage, and it's never easy. So for 23 people to run for president, it's just too many."

But one of the aspirants, former president James Tanis, said he had no problem with the numbers lining up.

"I am not worried about it. It is a democratic right that many people compete and give the opportunity to the people to choose from amongst us the president they want to choose," he said.

Late last month, President John Momis, who has been in power since 2010, failed in his bid to have the Constitution changed so he could run for a third term.

Currently there is a two term limit for presidents and Mr Momis had gone to the PNG Supreme Court claiming his rights were being infringed by him not being allowed to run.