The referendum to take Bougainville a step closer to full independence finally looks set to start on 23 November, after the issuing of the writs late last month. Voters will have a fortnight to reach the polling places, which will close on 7 December. The Referendum Commission, chaired by former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahearn, says the count will be completed no later than 20 December.
The referendum result will still not be the final deciding factor on whether Bougainville stays with Papua New Guinea or cuts loose. Rather, it will “inform” the required post-referendum consultations between the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) and the PNG Government to determine Bougainville’s future. Click here to read the full article about the "predicament."