BUKA (Dec 12): After a vote, which resulted in a landslide result for independence from Papua New Guinea, Bougainville has taken a big step towards becoming the world’s newest nation.
Chairman of the Bougainville Referendum Commission, Bertie Ahern, was quoted as saying that 176,928 people (98% of voters) had backed independence.
AFP reports that the result of the referendum must be ratified by Papua New Guinea’s parliament, where it may meet with some opposition, but the overwhelming majority vote will lend weight towards the results being recognised.
Ahern said all sides should recognise the result, and was quoted saying that the vote was about “your peace, your history, and your future” and showed “the power of the pen over weapons”.
“The referendum is one part of that ongoing journey,” said Ahern.
Nov 23 was when voting began with some festive residents sporting grass garlands and singing as they marched along the streets with independence flags.