Papua New Guinea explains lack of rush over Bougainville referendum

Papua New Guinea’s Minister of Bougainville Affairs, Manasseh Makiba, says the Bougainville referendum is a sensitive issue and the government will not take any short cuts in dealing with it.

Makiba was responding to enquiries in parliament about progress on the referendum.

The National reports him saying the critical issue is the parliamentary procedure on how to bring the referendum results into the house.

He acknowledged that both the Bougainville and PNG governments have different views on how this should be done.

Makiba said, based on advice from the State Solicitor, the PNG government wants a two-thirds majority of MPs, an absolute majority, for the tabling of the referendum.

But Bougainville said it should be a simple majority for the tabling, though it recognises that the constitutional questions on the matter will be decided later by an absolute majority.

Both governments had committed to having the referendum tabled last year but the dispute over an absolute and a simple majority has caused delays.

The Bougainville government, in its roadmap on the region’s future, has said it wants the issue of independence decided by 2025, or 2027, at the latest.

The non-binding referendum, which was conducted nearly five years ago, voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence from PNG.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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