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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Bougainville overwhelmingly votes for independence from Papua New Guinea

Almost 98% of the 181,067 votes cast backed independence in the non-binding poll that is part of a peace pact struck in the aftermath of a decade-long war between Bougainville's rebel fighters and PNG forces, which ended in 1998.

By: Reuters | Sydney | Published: December 11, 2019 11:22:01 am
Bougainville overwhelmingly votes for independence from Papua New Guinea Residents hold a Bougainville flag at a polling station during a non-binding independence referendum in Arawa, on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville November 26, 2019. (Reuters Photo: Melvin Levongo)

The South Pacific islands of Bougainville have overwhelmingly voted to be independent from Papua New Guinea, the referendum commission said on Wednesday, in a historic poll that will trigger separation negotiations between the two governments.

Almost 98% of the 181,067 votes cast backed independence in the non-binding poll that is part of a peace pact struck in the aftermath of a decade-long war between Bougainville’s rebel fighters and PNG forces, which ended in 1998.

Also read | Explained: From Bougainville referendum to Nithyananda’s Kailaasa, how is a new country formed?

The referendum gave voters in the island cluster a choice between independence and greater autonomy.

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