Last week the election results in Papua New Guinea’s autonomous region of Bougainville were announced. Guinea-Conakry’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) announced on Saturday the victory of President Alpha Conde in the elections of October 18 with 59.49% of the votes, against 33.50% of his rival, Cellou Dalein Diallo, whose party had already denounced "large-scale fraud". Former rebel military commander Ishmael Toroama has been elected president of Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea, election officials said on Wednesday. IPS is an international communication institution with a global news agency at its core, More recently, he has been a successful cocoa farmer. Former Bougainville Revolutionary Army commander, Ishmael Toroama, is starting to build a substantial lead after count 206 in the presidential vote. Live democratic and republican delegate counts, caucuses and primary results by state. Geraldine Valei, Executive Officer of the Bougainville Women’s Federation, offered another perspective on the overwhelming support Toroama received at the ballot box. He has not been a political leader or served in government administration, although he played a vital role in the peace talks which ended the conflict. Despite having only one recorded case of COVID-19, to date, the Bougainville government declared a state of emergency in March, which led to the delay of the general election, originally planned during the first half of this year. “I, as your mandated President, am ready to take Bougainville forward, focussing on law and order, anti-corruption policies, the [referendum] ratification process and improving the fiscal self-reliance of Bougainville,” Toroama said in a public statement on the occasion of his swearing in as President in the region’s main town of Buka on the Sept. 25. President-elect Ishmael Toroama after being declared the winner of the #Bougainville Presidential #election . Former President John Momis, who has led Bougainville for the past 10 years and been a prominent local political leader and figure of stability for more than four decades, bowed out of the race, having served the maximum two terms in office. Voters across Bougainville start heading to polling stations today [Wednesday August 12th] as a critical regional election gets underway. Following an almost unanimous 97.7 percent referendum vote in November of last year for Independence from PNG, the people of Bougainville returned to the polls last month to decide on a new government. His achievements include serving in the national parliament, playing a major role in the region’s peace negotiations and serving as Bougainville’s governor after the conflict from 1999 to 2005. President Momis said past elections were about forming a government to make developments happen and bring services to the people in the region. [1] A total of 342 candidates contested the election, involving the 33 constituency seats, three seats reserved for women and three seats reserved for former combatants in the Bougainville House of Representatives and the presidency itself. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Ishmael Toroama is set to lead the Autonomous Territory independence talks in eastern Papua New Guinea. The seat was left vacant after sitting member Joe Lera resigned to contest the Autonomous Bougainville Government presidential election which was conducted earlier this year. Last year’s non-binding independence ballot was part of the peace process that ended the conflict, although competing claims remain over development rights for the long-closed mine. CANBERRA, Australia, Sep 29 2020 (IPS) - Ishmael Toroama, a former revolutionary leader and fighter during the decade long civil war which engulfed the remote islands of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the 1990s, has been elected the autonomous region’s new President ahead of high-level talks about its political future. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2020 IPS-Inter Press Service. Long and complex negotiations between the PNG and Bougainville governments to agree the region’s new political status will occur over the coming months and years. The new President was a commander in the Bougainville Revolutionary Army, a guerrilla force which instigated an armed uprising following grievances about the environmental devastation and economic inequity associated with the foreign-owned Panguna mine. Specific dates are given where these are known. His victory marks a break with the current administration, led by President John Momis, after the government candidate was eliminated earlier in the region’s preferential voting system. Toroama also faces huge public expectations to bring about the region’s long held dream of Independence. Alluding to the stakes ahead, Momis called for unity as voters turned out to cast their ballots from Aug. 12 to Sept. 1. The 2015 presidential and parliamentary election was held in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville between 11 May and 25 May 2015. It is now tasked with carrying the autonomous region on a challenging political journey toward the long held local aspiration for nationhood. “Let us all walk this journey together as one people and one voice to decide our leaders for this next government that will lead us to our ultimate political future that is within the confines of democratic values and international best practice standards,” Momis stated on Aug. 17. The final decision will then be ratified by the PNG Parliament. Toroama, who defeated 24 other presidential candidates, is a strategic choice. With counting of the northern votes happening through the weekend, Toroama has established a buffer of more than 2200 votes over second placed Father Simon Dumarinu. Laukai claims that “the election was conducted well” and widely accepted as free and fair. He led comfortably from the beginning when count started from South Bougainville, the to Central and North Bougainville. 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Toroama is still more than 13,000 votes ahead of the second-placed candidate Fr Simon Dumarinu, while former Bougainville president James Tanis found himself eliminated. Bougainville, a group of lush, mineral-rich islands in the South Pacific, has undergone little development since the end of a decade-long civil war that claimed the lives of 20,000 people in 1998. Credit: Catherine Wilson/IPS. All rights reserved. By contrast, the leading opposition presidential candidate, Tundu Lissu, a mere 13 percent, down from 40 percent for the lead 2015 candidate, Edward Lowassa. Would you consider a $20.00 contribution today that will help to keep the IPS news wire active? By-elections are excluded, though national referendums are included. Toroama’s rivals for the top office included James Tanis, who held the office of President briefly from 2008 to 2010, another former rebel ex-combatant, Sam Kauona, and local businessman, Fidelis Semoso. “We will do the same for the Bougainville regional seat by-election. Copyright © 2020 IPS-Inter Press Service. There is no deadline for this process, but Toroama has indicated he would like a decision reached within two to three years. Bougainville's retiring President, John Momis, called for the maintenance of law and order amid concerns unsuccessful election candidates would cause disruption. At one point, ahead of the officials calling the election, Trump was even seen claiming that the vote counts are already in the billionaire business magnate's favour and he has won the said election "by a huge margin". The islands of Bougainville were brought under the umbrella of the new Papua New Guinean nation in 1975. Bougainville's youth pursue break from bloody past at presidential vote. Thailand: Finance Minister Predee Daochai resigns. He said rumours had been circulating unhappy candidates may not accept the results and there could be interference with the vote count. The outcome of this November’s election will be crucial to Palau’s response to the economic crisis, as whoever will win the polls will be confronted by the impacts of COVID-19 well beyond 2020. Bougainville, a group of lush, mineral-rich islands in the South Pacific, has undergone little development since the end of a decade-long civil war that claimed the lives of 20,000 people in 1998. This story includes downloadable print-quality images -- Copyright IPS, to be used exclusively with this story. As of count 102, the former Revolutionary Leader is leading the pool of 25 candidates with 12, 562 votes. 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