Ishmael Toroama has been declared the president-elect in Bougainville following an election process that began in the autonomous Papua New Guinea region, six weeks ago.
After the 23rd and final elimination, Toroama had 48,766 votes but crucially, under the preferential voting system, the absolute majority needed had fallen to 39,728.
Father Simon Dumarinu, a former PNG cabinet minister, finished second on 30,688 votes.
The official declaration was made this morning in Hutjena by returning officer, Peter Wanga, witnessed by the Electoral Commissioner George Manu.
Toroama has stressed that the restoration of law and order is a priority for him.
He also said a speedy resolution of the independence question was vital.
As far as any re-opening of the Panguna Mine goes Toroama said that was a decision entirely in the hands of the landowners.
Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape has congratulated Ishmael Toroama for his election.
In a statement, he said he looks forward to working with him to secure the outcome of the referendum.
Mr Marape said he will meet with Mr Toroama in the coming weeks to discuss the next steps of the independence process.
After a bloody civil war in the 1990s, 98 percent of Bougainvilleans last year voted for independence from PNG.