Referendum on the secession of Bougainville is a cornerstone of a peace agreement from 2001
There was great glædesscener on the archipelago, Bougainville island, when the inhabitants on Saturday went to the polls to vote on independence from Papua New Guinea which is located in the Pacific ocean northeast of Australia.
Bougainville island, which has about 207.000 inhabitants, can thus become the world's youngest nation.
Happy, oprømte voters flocked to the polls by the long-awaited referendum, which stretches over two weeks.
the Result is expected to be 15. december. The supporters of full independence of the judiciary expect that they will win.
Up to the vote, where you can also vote for semi-independence, there is no published opinion polls, and there is excitement about the outcome.
If the vote will be in favour of independence, it may take years before it comes true.
the Referendum is a cornerstone of a peace agreement from 2001, which brought a more than ten year long bloody civil war to an end. The war cost the lives of over 20,000 people.
There is simmering unrest several other locations in Papua New Guinea, and there may be demands for autonomy elsewhere in the ønationen after the vote on Bougainville.
Bougainvilles regional president, John Momis, called on Saturday the inhabitants to be patient and reminded that the referendum is only a first step in a long process.
Independence for Bougainville can lead to a new front in an international struggle for influence and power in the region - particularly between the UNITED states, China and Australia.
the Islands are among the poorest in the southern hemisphere, and there is a lack of funds for developing infrastructure.
- This opens the possibility of especially the chinese influence, says Jonathan Pryke of Sydney's Lowy Institute.
the civil War from 1988 to 1998 were rooted in disputes on the merits from a now closed copper mine, which still contains large amounts of copper and gold.
/ritzau/AFPUpdated Date: 23 November 2019, 14:00