Bougainville islanders go to vote to be free

World | 22 Nov 2019 5:08 pm

The Pacific people of Bougainville will begin voting tomorrow in a historic referendum to decide if they want to become the world's newest nation by gaining independence from Papua New Guinea.
The referendum will run over two weeks and is a key part of a 2001 peace agreement that ended a brutal civil war in the cluster of islands that killed at least 15,000 people.
But the vote will not be the final word for the 250,000 people of Bougainville. The referendum is nonbinding and a vote favoring independence will need to be negotiated by leaders from Bougainville and Papua New Guinea.
The U.N. representative in Papua New Guinea, Gianluca Rampolla, says the world body has been working hard to ensure the vote is peaceful, transparent, inclusive and credible.-AP. Photo/Map: BBC


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