OBEC engages observers in B’ville urban elections

Pictured are some of the observers from the Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency observing polling at the Bel Isi Park in Buka town

THE presence of observer organizations during any Autonomous Bougainville Government-sanctioned elections in Bougainville will always be appreciated by the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner (OBEC).

One of the reasons behind this is that the reports and recommendations from these observer organizations regarding the conduct of respective elections can be taken into consideration by OBEC to further improve and strengthen the democratic electoral process in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

The last time that a large contingent of election observers was in Bougainville-both domestic and international, was during the 2015 ABG General Elections. Their reports and recommendations on the general conduct of that election have enabled OBEC to identify areas that needed improvements in future elections.

OBEC was again able to accredit two Bougainville based non-government organizations in June this year as  observers for the Bougainville Urban Community Government Elections.

The Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency (LNWDA) and the Bougainville Women’s Federation (BWF) were supported with sponsorship assistance from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), a US-based non-profit organization that is currently providing technical assistance to OBEC, the ABG Department of Peace Agreement and Implementation and the Bougainville Referendum Commission.

LNWDA was conducting its observations in the Buka and Kokopau urban areas while BWF observers were stationed in the Arawa and Buin urban areas.

Following the completion of their observation period, both observer organizations will be expected to forward their observation reports to OBEC.

Polling ends for B’ville urban community gov’t elections

Pictured are some of the voters checking their names on a
spare electoral roll at the polling location in Buka town.

POLLING for the Bougainville Urban Community Government Elections ended about two weeks ago with the provisional declarations of the winning candidates of the respective seats in the four urban community governments of Buka, Kokopau, Arawa and Buin.

The three days polling which took place from the 19-21 of June saw more than fifty candidates contesting the male and female seats in the 22 wards within these four urban community governments.

Despite a slow start being experienced in nearly all polling places, all polling teams were still able to conduct polling as scheduled despite the little hiccups that were encountered.

The procedure for conducting the community government election is a very unique concept and differs from other normal parliamentary elections as both polling, counting of ballots and the provisional declaration of the winning candidates is done on the same day soon after the close of polling at each polling location.

Following the completion of polling and counting, all provisional declarations will then be forwarded to the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner to review these results.

These declarations are called provisional as they are not final. The final declarations will only be done by the Electoral Commissioner upon reviewing the results.

According to the Community Government Act that was passed by the Bougainville House of Representatives in 2016, the Commissioner will
have 14 days to review the results. During this period, electors that have complaints against the overall conduct of elections in their
respective wards will have the opportunity to forward their complaints to the Electoral Commissioner.

If there are no complaints raised regarding the provisional declarations of each of the ward elections, then the Commissioner will certify the results and make the final declarations.

If however the results are not satisfactory, the Commissioner will then nullify the provisional declaration of the ward of concern before setting a new date for supplementary elections to be held.

The certification and announcement of the election results will be made by the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner at the end of the review period, which is set at the 11th of July.

Joint International Observer Statement

The following media statement was published by the Joint International Observer Group on 12 June 2015 regarding their observations of the 2015 ABG General Election.

An international observer group has finished observing the 2015 Autonomous Region of Bougainville’s election, following an invitation from the Papua New Guinea and Autonomous Bougainville Governments. International observers were present across North, Central and South Bougainville throughout the polling, sorting and counting periods of the election. The group included representatives from Australia, the European Union, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Continue reading