According to official election results released on Wednesday, December 11, a total of 98 percent of voters in the Bougainville archipelago have voted in favor of independence from Papua New Guinea in a referendum held between Saturday, November 23, and Saturday, December 7.
The result of the referendum is expected to be ratified by Papua New Guinea's parliament over the coming days.
Celebratory events are likely in the coming days. Business and traffic disruptions are possible throughout the archipelago.
Bougainville has been an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea since 2004, following decades of civil war (1988-1998) in which more than 20,000 were killed. The 2001 peace agreement signed between Bougainvile's separatists and Papua New Guinea's security forces stated that an independence referendum had to be held in Bougainville by 2020.
The nearly unanimous results should be ratified without contestation from the central government.
Individuals in Bougainville and Papua New Guinea in general, are advised to monitor the situation and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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