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Bougainville vote results to be delivered in one announcement

Results in Bougainville’s upcoming referendum on independence from Papua New Guinea will be delivered in just one announcement.

The two-week polling period for the non-binding referendum begins on 23 November.

The verification, scrutiny and count process is to begin at the Count Centre in Buka once polling closes on 7 December.

The Bougainville Referendum Commission’s chairman Bertie Ahern said the vote would be delivered to the highest of international electoral standards.

He said that given the need to deliver a clear and credible process, a running tally of votes would not be provided, in order to avoid confusion.

“We are sure that the process will be safe, secure and will enable us to deliver an accurate and credible result,” he said.

“We are also following internationally recognised steps to ensure that the process is open to scrutineers, observers and the media.”

Mr Ahern said that the commission hoped to conclude counting well before the final date for the return of the writ – 20 December.

“Given the emotions of the vote, we will announce just one set of results, which will be the final one so as not to confuse people.

“The BRC will announce the final number of votes cast for greater autonomy and independence, plus the number of informal ballot papers. No more, and no less.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of scrutineers and observers have received accreditation to monitor Bougainville’s upcoming independence referendum.

Briefings were held yesterday in Bougainville’s three main centres, Buka, Arawa and Buin, for 95 observers and 554 scrutineers.

The Bougainville Referendum Commission said the briefings were to ensure the observers and scrutineers understood their role in supporting a transparent and credible referendum.

As well as dozens of domestic observers, several teams of international referendum observers will be converging on Bougainville in the next week ahead of the vote.

Source: RNZ



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