12 Jan 2023

Two by-elections in Bougainville in February

9:34 am on 12 January 2023
A NZ police car seen on a Buka street ahead of an historical independence vote, in 2019

Buka, capital Photo: AFP

The autonomous government in the Papua New Guinea region of Bougainville is finally organising by-elections in two seats that have been without representation for many months.

The elections, in Nissan and Haku constituencies, will be held on February 22, with nominations set to close this Friday.

The Nissan seat has been vacant since July 2021, after then-Health Minister Charry Napto and his wife and child were among seven people lost at sea when a banana boat carrying them disappeared.

The Haku seat became vacant after the death of Xavier Kareku in March last year.

The writs were issued by the Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives, Simon Pentanu, in Buka on Tuesday.

Pentanu said he was happy to issue the writs so that the people can exercise their democratic rights and he called on candidates to campaign peacefully and let the people decide the leaders of their choice.

The acting Electoral Commissioner George Manu said the delay was due to a lack of funding.