9 Dec 2008

More Bougainville areas to join election process tomorrow

5:12 pm on 9 December 2008

Voting in the Presidential election in the central and southern parts of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville is expected to start tomorrow after delays caused by security concerns.

The chief electoral officer, Mathias Pihei, says voting has been delayed by road blocks and demands by police for allowance payments.

He says it will get underway on Wednesday.

Anthony Regan, an academic with the Australian National University who is presently in Bougainville, says road blocks are a common feature there and they won't stop people voting.

"People aren't overly worried about them and they can always, just about always, persuade those involved to stop what they are doing or to do it in a way that doesn't actually interfere. It is just a form of protest, except this one at Sinanai[ in south Bougainville and thought to involve the money scam operator Noah Musingku] as I say, that is not going to be a difficulty. I think sometimes people from outside hear about road blocks and think they are a really serious issue, not knowing that is part of life here."

Anthony Regan