Bougainvilleans have voted overwhelmingly for independence from Papua New Guinea following the announcement of results this afternoon by the Bougainville Referendum Commission.
Out of 181, 067 total ballots counted, 176,928 voted for independence, while 3,043 voted in favor of greater autonomy.
BRC Chair Bertie Ahern presented the results to the ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis, and National Minister for Bougainville Affairs, Sir Puka Temu, and was witnessed by the public, including various international heads of missions.
Mr Ahern thanked the two governments of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, and the people of Bougainville, for participating and working together with the BRC to ensure a credible referendum process.
“We thank the two governments of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, and the people of the Bougainville for their outstanding participation in this historic process,” Ahern said.
Mr Ahern also acknowledged the international and local observers, scrutineers and the media for bringing transparency and credibility to the referendum process.
ABG President Grand Chief Dr John Momis, in his remarks congratulated and thanked the people of Bougainville for speaking clearly through the vote of what they wanted for the future of Bougainville.
“I think the current success of the referendum has clearly demonstrated that the people of Bougainville by this successful outcome now feel that they are psychologically liberated,” Momis said.
He also thanked the national government under the leadership of Prime Minister Hon. James Marape for continuously working together to implement the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
The referendum results will go through a consultation and negotiation process before the National Parliament makes a decision or ratifies the final negotiated outcome.
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