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. Polls will stay open for two weeks to ensure those in remote villages have a say, with a result expected in December. Mohin said he and other activists will begin building the region's economy, educational system, and health services, in preparation for an independent future. 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 … Supporters of full independence are expected to win handily, although without reliable opinion polls, a surprise is always possible. 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. Bougainville Independence Day From The Guardian, (Australia) 9 September 1998. Bougainville independence high on agenda as Ishmael Toroama elected president Leanne Jorari and Ben Doherty. Last December the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, an area in Papua New Guinea (PNG), voted in a referendum for independence, a move motivated by a history of violence and conflict. IT was an emotional day for Bougainvilleans when the results of the referendum showed most people were in favour of independence. 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. Former French President Giscard d’Estaing dies of COVID-19 at 94, US: Biden, top Democrats back bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill, Saudi Arabia, Qatar near agreement in Gulf crisis: Sources, Trump releases video repeating debunked election fraud claims, Trump discussed pre-emptive pardons for family: Reports. Polls will stay open for two weeks to ensure those in remote villages have a say, with a result expected in December. "That's all.". Bougainville votes on independence from Papua New Guinea. The Bougainville War, or ‘Crisis’ as the locals understate it, claimed an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 lives between 1988 and 1998. Bougainville, formerly an Australian colonial territory, has had a fractious relationship with Papua New Guinea since joining the country in 1976. “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 20-year itch Bougainville has voted for independence, but may not get it The restive province of Papua New Guinea has waited since 2001 for a referendum Asia Dec 18th 2019 edition November 27, 2019 Bougainville’s Faustian Bargain Toroama and his new cabinet plan to begin discussions with the PNG government on the non-binding independence referendum result in the near future. “The celebratory spirit around this particular day, I think it demonstrates the maturity of our leadership and the maturity of the people in Bougainville,” Temu said. John Momis, Bougainville regional president, cautioned excited voters on Saturday that the referendum was only one step in a long process and urged patience. However, Peake cautioned that more complex work lies ahead, and that the fight has only been half won. In the meantime, those who campaigned for independence are looking forward. Bougainville has waited a very long time for her independence, which was again expressed last year in the referendum vote, where 97.7% of the Bougainville people voted for independence. "All along (the desire for independence) was in my blood," he said. Supporters of full independence are expected to win handily, although without reliable opinion polls, a surprise is always possible. Updated 2:37 AM ET, Wed December 11, 2019. Their choice is between full independence or greater autonomy within PNG. New Zealand is leading an international unarmed police contingent for the vote, backed by fellow witnesses to the 2001 peace agreement: Australia, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. But in a sign of hopeful cooperation with the national government, Momis was accompanied to the polling station by Puka Temu, PNG’s minister for Bougainville affairs. An autonomous region in Papua New Guinea, Bougainville is aiming for independence and elected a president who shares that ambition. The South Pacific region of Bougainville has voted for independence from Papua New Guinea. ... saying it is 'a day of shame' and party has 'failed Jewish people'" Gianluca Rampolla, the United Nations resident coordinator in PNG. But the rich mineral resources on Bougainville will not magically transform into a fully integrated and prosperous economy the day independence is granted. 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. Yet there’s few outward signs of PTSD. However, the vote indicated such an overwhelming demand for independence that Papua New Guinea may have difficulty brushing it aside, Peake said. “While many are expecting an overwhelming vote for independence, what that would look in terms of building an economy and breaking away from Papua New Guinea isn’t entirely clear yet,” Al Jazeera’s Nicola Gage, reporting from the PNG capital, Port Moresby, said. The referendum ballot offered a choice between independence or greater autonomy within Papua New Guinea. But rejection would risk rekindling former feuds and destroying the peace process. Some remarked that days of heavy rain preceding Saturday’s vote were a sort of “baptism” for a community that still vividly remembers the pain of conflict. About 207,000 Bougainvilleans are registered to vote on whether Melanesian isles will become world’s newest country. A former veteran who fought in the civil war, he said he had been working "around the clock" to ensure the vote could go forward -- and now "we got what we wanted.". The simple fact is… 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. Voters gather at a polling station in Buka to cast their ballot in the Bougainville independence referendum. The ex-Fianna Fail leader was … 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. Many factors will need to be considered -- for instance, the terms of trade, travel, and residence. Up to 20,000 people were killed in the fighting, with thousands more displaced from their homes. Bougainville is an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea. Photograph: Ness Kerton/AFP via Getty Images After 20 years, the big day … ", Eddie Mohin has been campaigning for independence for years, and hailed the day as a victory. “I am going to rejoice and the bamboo band must play and I’ll dance and go and vote.”. 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 non-binding referendum was part of a peace agreement forged nearly 20 years ago, which brought an end to a … Bougainville has voted overwhelmingly to seek independence from Papua New Guinea, with more than 97 per cent in favour of autonomy. "We just want everybody to respect our people's choice and give us what we want," he said. News Bougainville votes overwhelmingly for independence from Papua New Guinea . EX-TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern has declared a landslide referendum vote backing Bougainville’s independence from Papua New Guinea. 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 … Next, the Bougainville and Papua New Guinea governments will need to meet and negotiate details for a new relationship.