B’ville E/Commissioner announces ABG By-Election dates

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BOUGAINVILLE Electoral Commissioner Mr George Manu has officially announced the dates for the 2018 ABG By-Elections.

The announcement which was done recently and witnessed by the ABG Deputy Chief Secretary (Strategic Policy) Mr Thomas Raivet and representatives from media, now puts to rest doubts people had regarding the conduct of by-elections for the three vacant seats in the Bougainville House of Representatives.

These vacant constituency seats include Halia in the Buka district, Taonita Teop in Tinputz and Kongara in the Kieta district of 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 ABG 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.

Deputy chief secretary Mr Raivet commended the Electoral Commissioner for officially announcing the dates for the elections.

He said despite the financial constraints faced by ABG, it was very important that funding be allocated to such electoral activities.

“People need to have their representatives in parliament so that they can have a voice.

“This is very good, this is an achievement where all Bougainvilleans feel that they have a voice in their parliament and that they are being represented just like the others.

He added that the conduct of the by-elections is another milestone achievement towards updating the voter roll that will be used during the referendum to decide Bougainville’s future political status.

“This is one thing out of the way but is an achievement and we can move on from there; the updating of the referendum roll and trialing it, rehearsing it, getting it fully updated and we prepare for next year,” Mr Raivet said. 

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.