By the end of today 820 of 829 polling locations for the Bougainville referendum will have completed polling – over 99 per cent of all polling according to the referendum schedule.
Chief Referendum Officer Mauricio Claudio said the Bougainville Referendum Commission was delighted with how well this week’s large and complex operations had proceeded.
“With the exception of a few locations delayed by a day or two by bad weather, we’ve witnessed 250 polling teams do a great job and Bougainvilleans in their thousands coming out to cast their vote in a peaceful and festival environment,” Mr Claudio said.
“All are to be congratulated for the positive way people have engaged in this step of the Bougainville Peace process – whether it be in large urban centres, remote atolls or overseas.”
“For those who got themselves enrolled months ago, we’ve done our best to get to you.” Polling will now start to wind down with polling teams and their materials returning from Australia, Solomon Islands and the provinces of Papua New Guinea.
“We will be ensuring the same safety and security of polling teams and materials we’ve practiced to date as they make their way back to Buka.”
On Saturday and Monday, polling will be completed in Haku, Peit, Taonita, Nuguria (Atolls) and Terra. The three regional centres in Buka, Arawa and Buin will remain open until polling officially closes on 7 December, 6pm.
“To any enrolled voters who have not yet cast their vote – now is your last chance.”
The Chief Referendum Officer noted that some observer teams would be rotating out of Bougainville this week, with more coming in to observe the scrutiny and counting of ballots starting after 6pm next Saturday 7 December.