ABG By-Elections to be held shortly

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THE Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC) is set and ready to conduct the by-elections for three vacant constituency seats in the Bougainville House of Representatives.

This assurance was given by the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner Mr George Manu last week when giving updates on the preparations already undertaken towards the conduct of these elections.

The constituencies that will be having their by-elections are Halia and Taonita Teop in North Bougainville and Kongara in Central Bougainville.

“I am pleased to announce today, that the dates for the 2018 ABG By-Elections have already been finalized and that the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC) is now set and ready to conduct these elections,” Mr Manu said.

According to Mr Manu, election writs will be issued by the Speaker of the Bougainville House of Representatives on Friday 21st September, while nominations will take place from 24-26 September. Polling will be from 15-19 of October and counting is scheduled for 22-26 October. The return of writs will take place on 29th October 2018.

“As you can see from this schedule, we have about five weeks to conduct and complete these elections.

“Despite the short time we have to facilitate all these different electoral activities, I am positive and can assure the people of these three constituencies that will be having their by-elections, including the Bougainville Executive Council and ABG, that OBEC is prepared and ready to conduct and complete the election within this scheduled timeframe,” said Mr Manu.

The announcement of the election dates also came as an early independence gift to the people in these three constituency as they have been without a representative in the ABG Parliament for more than a year.

About a month ago saw the chiefs of Taonita Teop petitioning ABG to source funding to facilitate their by-election as soon as possible.

They had further warned that failure by the government to conduct the election will result in them not taking part in the referendum to decide Bougainville’s future political status.  

The Taonita Teop constituency seat had become vacant following the demise of member, late Raopos Apou Tepaia in 2016, whilst the members for the other two seats had resigned early last year to contest the 2017 National Elections.