IB 2020/16 The Bougainville Referendum: Lessons for the Future

in brief

Author/s (editor/s):

Kerryn Baker, Thiago Oppermann

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In Brief

In late 2019, a non-binding referendum on the future political status of Bougainville was held. A team of researchers from The Australian National University and the University of Papua New Guinea observed the referendum, including the polling and counting processes. The Bougainville referendum of 2019 was conducted in a social setting of great community involvement, with robust polling procedures and generally effective administration and implementation. Whilst there were some minor shortcomings in compliance and isolated security concerns, as an exercise in polling in a Melanesian context, it was exemplary. It met international standards of free, fair and credible polling practices. This In Brief will explore potential lessons from this referendum for future elections in Bougainville and elsewhere in Melanesia.

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