B’ville to hold by-elections for vacant seats

Islands, Normal

The National, Tuesday 12th February, 2013

BY-elections for the four vacant seats in the Bougainville house of representatives will soon be conducted.
Electoral commissioner for Bougainville, Reitama Taravaru, told The National last Friday that they planned to update common roll and conduct awareness this month and next before going to the polls in April.
Taravaru said that he was now waiting for the Autonomous Bougainville Government to release funds for the by-elections.
He said a total of K1.5 million had been requested from the ABG and when the funds were allocated, he would now announce the dates.
He said while the Electoral Commission was preparing, he wanted the electorates to identify good candidates who could represent them in the Bougainville parliament.
Taravaru said the four constituencies had been without their members for a long time.
They are Lule in Buin, South Bougainville, Kongara and Rau in Central Bougainville and Hagogohe on Buka Island.
The two seats of Hagogohe and Kongara lost their members when the former members Robert Hamal Sawa and Dominic Itta resigned to contest the 2012 national elections.
The other seats of Lule and Rau became vacated when the former members, Paul Mitu and Joseph Egilio died last year.
Taravaru said the four constituencies had  missed out on the budget session at the end of last year and did not have their members to debate the budget on their behalf.
He added that the Electoral Commission owed service providers from the general elections a total of K1.7 million, which must be settled as this could disrupt the smooth operation of the by-elections.