11 Dec 2008

Bougainville elections chief happy with progress in Presidential election

4:30 pm on 11 December 2008

The chief electoral officer of the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville says he is satisfied with progress being made in the two week long election of a new President.

Mathias Pihei, says all areas will have begun polling by Friday despite disruptions such as an ongoing road block at Siniwai on the south of the main island.

Mr Pihei says he thinks they will be in a position to start counting by December the 18th, two days ahead of schedule.

"We still have a couple of days up our sleeve.The end of polling is on the 20th and I think we are quite comfortable, we are on schedule although there were some late start in some areas, due to the continued security assessment that we carried out. We will still have a couple of days [where] we can manoeuvre, if really something was wrong. I am quite comfortable with the way we are going."

Mr Pihei says the international observers have praised the professionalism of the electoral office staff.