A preliminary assessment compiled by Transparency International (TIPNG) on the Conduct of the Bougainville Referendum found there were some sense of celebration at the polling station and people interviewed were fort-coming with their answers.
The observation covered 28 polling stations and 100 voters were interviewed on whether the elections were free, safe and fair.
The assessment also found minor instances that TIPNG suggested could be ascribed to insufficient training of BRC polling officials and under resourcing.
The preliminary assessment released on Christmas Eve provides an overview of TIPNG’s Observation and highlights key areas that will be covered in in-depth in a full report before parliament resumes in 2020.
The observation team include TIPNG observers and representatives from the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPC), University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), National Research Institute (NRI) and the Public Service Commission.
The Bougainville Referendum conducted in November was to determine the future of the people from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.
97% of the eligible voters voted for Independence while only 3% wanted a greater autonomy.
Methods used in the observation include systematically evaluation of the 28 polling stations including officials and collecting of views from voters on whether the referendum was free, fair and safe.
The observation conducted in North and Central Bougainville only covered the polling process between November 25th to November 27th and not the counting process.
The voter surveys concluded that while there were no undue or coercive behaviours, only one polling station in Central Bougainville had serious deficiency as the secretary of votes were violated by a man from the community.
Other notable challenges were procedural issues by BRC officials like the inadequate provision of votes, limited polling booth and early closure of polling venues.
With the closure of the Bougainville Referendum on 13th December, the government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville will now deliberate on the future of Bougainville. .
By Theckla Gunga, EMTV News, Port Moresby