Commission yet to appoint five members for Bougainville


THE PNG and the Bougainville electoral commissioners are mandatory members of the Bougainville Referendum Commission with five members yet to be appointed.
Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) secretary for peace and implementation James Tanis said the commission was tasked with the conducting the referendum on June 15, 2019.
He said that on the FM 100 talkback show yesterday in a panel consisting of the National Research Institute’s Bougainville Referendum Research Project team.
“The two governments have already agreed that an independent agency will conduct the referendum and that is the Bougainville Referendum Commission.” Tanis said.
“That commission will have seven members who will be chaired by an independent person and it will have in its membership, two electoral commissioners, the PNG electoral commissioner and the commissioners on Bougainville and also two government representatives – two from Bougainville and two from PNG in which one has to be a woman,” Tanis said.
“Under the commission, there will be a secretariat and the head will be somebody that will be called the chief referendum officer. The arrangement allows for the two electoral commissions to pull together resources to support the work of the Bougainville Referendum Commission.”
Tanis said it was also a “constitutional responsibility” of the commission to update the roll and was something his department was initially engaging with the community to do as well.
National Research Institute senior international consultant Andrew Elias said that the referendum date was not far off.
“June 2019 may sound a long way away but it is not. The time that it takes to mobilise resources, to make political decisions, it inevitably tends to squeeze the time that is available for actually making things as good as possible on the ground,” Elias said.