Referendum is one of the pillars of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA). The BPA declares that in the Constitution of the Papua New Guinea National Government and the Autonomous Bougainville Government, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB) is guaranteed a referendum on Bougainville’s political future to be held amongst Bougainvilleans 10-15 years after the establishment of the Autonomous Bougainville Government. ABG was established in 2005 and therefore, according to the Constitution, a referendum can be held between the years 2015 and 2020. Both governments will agree upon the official date of the referendum.
Issue of writs – 27 September 2019
Start of polling – 23 November 2019
Referendum Results announced by the BRC – 11 December 2019
Number of votes for Greater Autonomy: 3,043
Number of votes for Independence: 176,928
Number of informal ballot papers: 1,096
Total number of ballot papers counted: 181, 067
The Agency responsible for conducting the Referendum
The two governments have agreed on establishing an independent administrative agency to conduct the referendum. The GoPNG, ABG, PNG Electoral Commission and the Bougainville Electoral Commission have entered into an agreement which provides for the implementation of joint responsibility through the establishment of an independent agency, the Bougainville Referendum Commission, which will carry out the referendum in Bougainville.
The Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) was created on January 24th, 2017 and the agreement signed in the presence of delegates from both governments.The formation of the BRC as an independent and impartial entity was agreed upon by the National Executive Council, the Bougainville Executive Council and the Attorney General.
The BRC is responsible for the conduct of the referendum.