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Momis praises Bougainville people's commitment to democracy

Bougainville ballot boxes being transported for countingKEITH JACKSON, PNG TODAY, RADIO NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL & SOURCES

BOUGAINVILLE'S president-elect John Momis says Bougainvilleans' conduct in the recent election has shown their commitment to democracy.

Dr Momis was speaking after the final results came though at the weekend following a week-long count for the presidency.

He was declared President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville on Saturday morning having collected 51,382 votes after the fourth elimination. 

The president accepted and signed papers which will give him the top job for the next five years.

Dr Momis thanked the people of Bougainville for having the faith in him to lead the team that would take them into the future.

He also thanked candidates who stood in the election for their commitment to contribute to the process of peace-building in Bougainville.

He promised to work with all factions to make sure the province was ready for the coming referendum that will decide the political status of Bougainville once and for all.

Dr Momis also congratulated the people of Bougainville for making sure the election was conducted fairly and freely.

He said despite people's differences they can work together for the common good of Bougainville.

He also congratulated Electoral Commissioner George Manu and electoral authorities on the successful staging of the election, which was conducted for the first time by the autonomous region’s own electoral commission.

Dr Momis said, despite some hiccups, the election was conducted peacefully and showed people's commitment to democratic principles, values and the Bougainville vision.

The Third Bougainville House of Representative will be sworn into office on 15 June.

Dr Momis was easily re-elected, gaining around half the votes and comfortably defeating eight other presidential candidates.

He received more than 50,000 thousand votes, with his closest rival Ismael Toroama on 17,571.

The only woman to win an open seat, Josephine Getsi, says she believes her community involvement was critical to her success. Ms Getsi defeated 11 men in Peit constituency in north Bougainville.

“The people knew me very well - as a teacher working with the community, different groups of people, youth,” she said. “I also worked with the women involved in women's activities in the community and Bougainville as a whole."

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