4 Jun 2005

Ballot-counting draws to a close in PNG province of Bougainville

7:37 am on 4 June 2005

Ballot-counting is drawing to a close in the elections for the first autonomous government in the Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville.

The leader of the Bougainville Peoples' Congress, Joseph Kabui is strongly ahead in the vote to become president.

Mr Kabui is about 6,000 votes ahead of his nearest rival, the former governor John Momis.

Mr Kabui and Mr Momis were the lead runners for the presidency out of five candidates for the post.

Both men indicated before the election they would be willing to find a position for the loser in the new autonomous government.

The election manager, Mathias Pehei, says a few constituencies in Bougainville's north and south are yet to be called.

The final results for all 40 members of the new government, won't be known until later.