Bougainville Electoral Commissioner, George Manu, said the number of participating candidates rose by 30 percent, while the number of presidential candidates was almost triple that of 2015.
Speaking at the return of writs on Thursday, September 24th, at the House of Representatives, Manu said: “This election was keenly contested.”
Apart from that, the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner noted an increase in the voter roll by around a third, including more than a 10-fold increase in Bougainvilleans outside Bougainville enrolments from 2015.
All this was attributed to the 151 polling teams in 618 polling locations in Bougainville and six provinces of PNG.
“Without a doubt, the referendum of last year was a defining moment in our history and you, the voters, sent an unequivocal message to our leaders which set Bougainville in a new direction,” Manu stated.
On the other hand, apart from COVID-19, implementation of the elections was hampered by funding challenges, finalisation of changes to the law, the establishment of the Registrar of Political Parties and the availability of international observers.
Meantime, while the inauguration of the fourth House of Representatives will occur on Tuesday, 29th September, the tenure of the Members of the Third House ceases as of September 25th.
(Media personnel witnessing the unveiling of the new House of Representatives plaque on Thursday, September 24th)