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Harsh realities in Bougainville referendum
5:11 pm GMT+12, 06/06/2018, Papua New Guinea

Some harsh realities of the requirements and prerequisites of the Bougainville referendum are now being thrashed out at the three-day conference in Port Moresby by all stakeholders.
 
Included are the legal procedures to be followed in the conduct of the referendum and the questions that are going to be contained in the ballot papers.
 
For discussions also is the questions of eligibility of Bougainvilleans whether residential or otherwise and outsiders who have been residents there for more than six months.
 
A main point relates to the question of weapons disposal and whether or not it is a pre-requisite for conduct of the referendum.
 
The discussions are under the auspicious of the National Research Institute and involve government, the Autonomous Bougainville Government, national departments, government legal bodies and advisers and other stakeholders.
 
They are being discussed in context of the Bougainville Peace Agreement and the Bougainville and PNG Constitutions relating to the referendum.
 
Bougainville President John Momis flew in with his delegation to attend the conference which they hope to thrash out most of the niggling issues in a bid to lay down a final pathway to conduct the referendum.
 
Discussions are also centred around the final outcome of the referendum based on the rating and interpretation of the results based on the legal provisions of the legislation which it is conducted.
 
The talks are also expected to explore the powers of both the ABG and the National Government in determining the final results of the referendum.
 
It is understood that the cost of the referendum will be in the vicinity of K130 million(US$40 million) and funding is an area the ABG has been very vocal about.
 
Under the Organic Law the two governments are required to ensure all arrangements are made, staff, facilities and funding provided and all steps taken to facilitate the performance of the functions of the Bougainville Referendum Commission and of each returning officer.
 
At the coming JSB meeting the two governments would finalise a programme involving 11 work-streams for preparations for the referendum, one of which involves preparations for a peaceful transition following the vote.
 
The work-stream will ensure that whatever happens after the referendum, the two governments would continue to deal in peaceful means.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS


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