Chair – Commends Referendum Result to two Governments

BRC Chair, Mr Bertie Ahern, yesterday formally announced the closure of the electoral process of the Bougainville Referendum, commending the result to the two governments for their consideration and final decision-making.

At yesterday’s meeting of the full Commission, Mr Ahern confirmed that it did not receive any objections during the 40-day petition period for the Bougainville Referendum which ended on 20 January.

Mr Ahern said it was vital for all parties to recognise that the end of the electoral process now paved the way for consultation between the two governments on the result to proceed.

“I’m delighted that the Referendum vote was a success, that it was free of objections, and that both international and local observers found it to be free and fair,” Mr Ahern said.

“However, the completion of our work means the larger task of coming to a final decision must now commence. It’s critical that the momentum and goodwill achieved during this historic and peaceful vote is harnessed and maintained.”

“We wish the two governments all the best, and again thank the people of Bougainville for their outstanding engagement and cooperation in our small part of the ongoing and longer term peace process.”

The Commission will provide an interim report on the Referendum over the coming weeks to the governments, ahead of a comprehensive report at the end of the three month wind up of the Commission.