By SAMUEL BARIASI
THE final report of the Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) provides an historical narrative of the referendum, says Bougainville Affairs Minister Sir Puka Temu.
Sir Puka told Parliament the report contained an independent audit of accounts, a list of distributed assets, and BRC’s view on the enrolment, polling and counting.
“Over the last two years, the BRC has stayed true to its charter, which is to be professional, neutral, transparent and inclusive,” he said.
Sir Puka said the absence of petitions to the process and delivery of the referendum within budget proved that the referendum was done transparently and accountably.
“In the view of the Commission, the seven key areas were responsible not only for the peaceful conduct of the referendum, but also for the high turnout of 87.4 per cent compared to the 60 per cent turnout in the 2015 Autonomous Bougainville Government elections.”
The key areas were the:
- comprehensive awareness programme;
- comprehensive enrolment programme;
- more voting locations on Bougainville than ever before;
- options for non-resident Bougainvilleans living elsewhere in PNG to enrol and to vote;
- overseas voting for eligible Bougainvilleans in the Solomon Islands and Australia, and elsewhere through postal voting;
- special voting options such as provisional voting, postal voting and hospital voting; and,
- use of mobile phone SMS services to support roll accuracy during enrolment and to assist voters to identify their nearest polling location.
“These are achievements which we can all be proud of.
“They are achievements which we can build on as a nation.”
The Bougainville election writs are expected to be issued next week, followed by the filing of nominations, the campaign period, before the voting in August.