Restraining order application filed

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THE president of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville John Momis and the Bougainville executive council are seeking restraining orders to stop the Speaker of Bougainville House of Representatives (HoR) from issuing writs for the 2020 Bougainville HoR election on Friday (March 27).
The restraining order sought by president Momis and the executive council seeks to stop the speaker from acting on directives issued by the Bougainville electoral commission.
The commission had advised the speaker in a letter to issue the writs at the end of this week.
A restraining order was sought pending a special Supreme Court reference filed challenging the validity of section 89 (2) and 91 (4) of the Bougainville constitution.
The special application seeks to clarify whether the provision of section 55 (5) (b) regarding the lawful status of former combatant members of the house impacted on the outcome of a vote to amend sections 89 (2) and 91(4) (f).
This raised questions of whether participation of representatives of three former combatants in the proceedings of the HoR post referendum were valid pursuant to section 55. According to the Bougainville constitution the membership of the former combatants’ representative only applied until the holding of the Bougainville referendum pursuant to section 55 (5) (b) of the Bougainville constitution, after that, the seats no longer existed post referendum.
However, the representatives of former combatants continued to participate post referendum even on the proposed amendment to section 55 (5) (b) of the Bougainville constitution which lapse due to not meeting an absolute majority of 27 votes according to the speaker.
Justice Collin Makail adjourned the hearing on the stay application to tomorrow where a Supreme Court panel would be assigned to hear the application.