Serhat TUNAR -TDO- In a referendum held on Bougainville Island in the South Pacific bound for Papua New Guinea, the people voted in favor of independence. Bertie Ahern, Chairman of the Bougainville Referendum Commission, said 98 per cent of the public voted in favor of independence.
Following a non-binding referendum, the issue of independence needs to be negotiated between the leaders of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinean lawmakers will have the final say on independence. The independence process could take years.
The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape, has yet to announce a referendum on Bougainville Island.
The referendum was one of the key clauses of the 2001 peace agreement that ended the civil war that broke out on a group of islands in the east of Papua New Guinea and left 15 thousand people dead.