NRI launches referendum reports

The National Research Institute (NRI) has launched two reports to assist in the preparation for the Bougainville Referendum.

The two reports aim to facilitate discussions between stakeholders and the wider public to understand the referendum and its implications.

The two reports are part of six publications the NRI wants published before the end of this year.

Launched on Monday, the reports provide a historical perspective on referendums as well as practical administration case studies of the implementation of referendums.

Project Manager of Bougainville Research at NRI, Dr. Thomas Webster, said the reports are very well researched and peer reviewed publications that can facilitate in the preparations towards Bougainville Referendum.

The first report is titled Independence Referendum: the History, Practices and Outcomes and the second report is Administration of Referendums: A Comparative Study of Independence Referendums.

“The first report on the Independence Referendum: the History, Practices and Outcomes, is really around the historical perspective of the referendums,” said Dr Webster.

“It looks at the historical evolution of referendums, where they occurred, and the outcomes. And the outcomes are very important because not all referendums were successful.

“So we need to understand what may happen and what we need to do.” 

For the second report, he said: “10 countries have been involved in referendums and what were the legal framework which they undertook the preparations for the referendums. And then it follows through and looks at what happened and what are the likely outcomes for Bougainville.”

Dr Webster said the two reports are part of a six publication series which they aim to have published immediately so they can be used by stakeholders and the wider public.

“We want to have the reports published by June so that we have 12 months to prepare. They (reports) provide the basis for discussion.”

NRI Director, Dr. Osborne Sanida, reiterated the institution’s stance as an independent body in providing information and setting a platform for well-informed discussion.

“The key objective for the National Research Institute holding this research project is to ensure the process of the referendum to be credible so that we can live with the result of the referendum,” he said.

The Launching was attended by UN Resident Coordinator, Gianlucca Rampolla, and Electoral Commissioner, Patilio Gamato, and NRI staff and stakeholders.

(Dr. Thomas Webster, left, and Dr. Osborne Sanida)

Cedric Patjole