", When asked if the issue was now resolved, he gave an emphatic "Yes.". More than 1,000 people waited on Saturday morning to cast their ballots at one polling station in the main city of Buka, as others formed makeshift choirs that stomped through the streets, waving independence flags, blowing bamboo pipes and chanting in chorus. Bougainville independence high on agenda as Ishmael Toroama elected president Leanne Jorari and Ben Doherty. But rejection would risk rekindling former feuds and destroying the peace process. If voters do choose independence, the decision would need ratification from the PNG Parliament, where there is anxiety that Bougainville could set a precedent and spur other independence movements within the diverse country. Voting information pamphlets at a polling station in the Bougainville capital Buka on November 22, 2019. Polls will stay open for two weeks to ensure those in remote villages have a say, with a result expected in December. " As we celebrate Independence Day for 2019, I want to reflect on the upcoming referendum and the future political path of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The vote caps a 2001 peace deal that ended a brutal decade-long war between Bougainville rebels, PNG security forces and foreign mercenaries. IT was an emotional day for Bougainvilleans when the results of the referendum showed most people were in favour of independence. "All along (the desire for independence) was in my blood," he said. Today many of Bougainville’s 206,000 eligible voters are moving towards one of 800 polling stations across the territory on its first day of voting. Bougainville women’s rep and proud mother Gertrude Gaunara said she was emotional when the results were announced. Supporters of full independence are expected to win handily, although without reliable opinion polls, a surprise is always possible. On September 1, 1975, the people of Bougainville raised the flag and declared independence as the Republic of the North Solomons. The celebrations are aimed at encouraging economic recovery, reconciliation and celebrating Bougainville’s achievements on its path to the referendum and its ultimate political goal; independence. Voters gather at a polling station in Buka to cast their ballot in the Bougainville independence referendum. The region is named after Bougainville Island, the largest island of the Solomon Islands archipelago, but also contains a number of smaller islands. "People have been waiting for the opportunity to cast their vote for a long time. recent weeks once-sworn enemies have taken part in tearful reconciliation ceremonies, where arrows were snapped to symbolise the end of a vicious conflict. John Momis, Bougainville regional president, cautioned excited voters on Saturday that the referendum was only one step in a long process and urged patience. The mine is estimated to still hold more than five million tonnes of copper and 19 million ounces of gold – worth billions of dollars at current market prices. Many factors will need to be considered -- for instance, the terms of trade, travel, and residence. News Bougainville votes overwhelmingly for independence from Papua New Guinea . ... saying it is 'a day of shame' and party has 'failed Jewish people'" About 207,000 Bougainvilleans are registered to vote on whether Melanesian isles will become world’s newest country. More than 181,000 people voted in the independence referendum in Bougainville, a group of islands that sit on one of the world's largest copper mines, off … “There’s been massive investment in terms of awareness-raising to ensure that the expectations of the voters be managed, to ensure that the understanding of the process be clear,” said Gianluca Rampolla, the United Nations resident coordinator in PNG. The ex-Fianna Fail leader was … EX-TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern has declared a landslide referendum vote backing Bougainville’s independence from Papua New Guinea. About 207,000 Bougainvilleans are registered to vote and decide whether the Melanesian isles will become the world’s newest country. Preparations for the voting were peaceful, and in recent weeks once-sworn enemies have taken part in tearful reconciliation ceremonies, where arrows were snapped to symbolise the end of a vicious conflict. The mine, unused for 30 years and its infrastructure and equipment stolen or trashed, will require a decade and billions of dollars to restitute. Joyous voters in the Pacific island chain of Bougainville cheered and sang as they flocked to the polls Saturday at the start of a long-awaited referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea. The South Pacific region of Bougainville has voted for independence from Papua New Guinea. A referendum, 20 years in the making, is underway to decide whether the small island of Bougainville in the south west Pacific will seek full independence from Papua New Guinea (PNG). Joyous voters in the Pacific island chain of Bougainville cheered and sang as they flocked to the polls Saturday at the start of a long-awaited referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea. "We just want everybody to respect our people's choice and give us what we want," he said. "That's all.". A ceremony to announce the results of Bougainville's historic referendum opened with a chorus of the Bougainville anthem. Buka, Bougainville (PACNews)-- Autonomous Bougainville Government President, Grand Chief Dr John Momis has hinted a possible five year time-line to negotiate possible independence from Papua New Guinea for the people of Bougainville. The Bougainville War, or ‘Crisis’ as the locals understate it, claimed an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 lives between 1988 and 1998. “I was watching it live on my phone. Yet there’s few outward signs of PTSD. Bougainville residents queue to vote at a polling station in an historic independence vote in Buka on November 23, 2019. About 207,000 Bougainvilleans are registered to vote on whether Melanesian isles will become world’s newest country. ANALYSIS: By Keith Jackson Ishmael Toroama built his reputation as a bold fighter and later a commander in the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA) in its struggle to close the Panguna copper and gold mine and gain independence for Bougainville … Their choice is between full independence or greater autonomy within PNG. The civil war had in part been over a dispute about the mine's management, and some predict Papua New Guinea will be reluctant to lose access to the region's valuable natural resources. A decade-long civil war in the 1990s, often referred to as the ‘Bougainville crisis’ (those familiar with the Lloyd Jones novel Mr Pip will recognise the setting) devastated the region. “We should not rush things, we should take our time to ensure a good outcome,” he said, adding that a final result “could be five years” away. Two weeks before Papua New Guinea was scheduled to gain independence from Australia in 1975, leaders in Bougainville tried to opt out by declaring their own independent Republic of the North Solomons. Photograph: Ness Kerton/AFP via Getty Images After 20 years, the big day … The referendum is a centrepiece of the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement, which ended the longest-running conflict in the Pacific since the Second World War. Bougainville independence campaigners are bracing for this next step; the copper mine, estimated to be worth $58 billion, has long been a point of territorial contention. Next, the Bougainville and Papua New Guinea governments will need to meet and negotiate details for a new relationship. Afghan gov’t, Taliban announce breakthrough deal in peace talks, Kurd vs Kurd: Fears of full-scale war rise in northern Iraq, Al Jazeera Centre for Public Liberties & Human Rights. Some in the region worry that the Papua New Guinea government will push back and try to block the secession -- Mohin accused the mainland of wanting to "keep the resources on the island.". On Saturday morning in Bougainville's main city Buka, at least 1,000 people gathered as polls opened, with scenes of singing and dancing as excitement grew over the possibility of independence. “Another step before that though will take place here in the PNG Parliament, where the government also needs to approve any outcome.”. Toroama and his new cabinet plan to begin discussions with the PNG government on the non-binding independence referendum result in the near future. Supporters of full independence are expected to win handily, although without reliable opinion polls, a surprise is always possible. 176,928 votes for independence have been recorded out of 181,067 ballots. The 1988-1998 war had its roots in a struggle over revenues from the now-shuttered Panguna copper mine, which at one point accounted for more than 40 percent of PNG’s exports. Chairman of the Central Bougainville Events Committee and Kieta District Executive Manager Tonny Moera said over the years there was never much emphasis on the celebrations. The referendum has been a long time coming. Bougainville, formerly an Australian colonial territory, has had a fractious relationship with Papua New Guinea since joining the country in 1976. Gianluca Rampolla, the United Nations resident coordinator in PNG. Bougainville's conman 'king' still on the run as island edges closer to independence Ten years ago, ABC journalist Liam Fox met Bougainville's self … Polls will stay open for two weeks to ensure those in remote villages have a say, with a result expected in December.
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