UNDP helps Bougainville prepare for key poll
The UNDP is helping prepare scrutineers, the media and others for the Bougainville elections which run for two weeks from next Monday.
The United Nations Development Programme in Papua New Guinea is undertaking an extensive programme to prepare Bougainville for the elections which start next Monday.
The UNDP assistant regional representative Julie Bukikin told Don Wiseman that the autonomous Bougainville Government and the Electoral Commission asked the agency to oversee several areas.
JULIE BUKIKUN: Looking at coordination of international observer missions to observe the elections, we have also just this week started training of the candidates scrutineers, we also looked how to help women candidates so we ran a training also, to get them to understand the processes, to help with what they would be expecting if they were intending to go into elections and their campaign and so forth. The other things we are doing as well, looking at training and coordinating media, so that they report appropriately. We are also looking at setting up an election dispute resolution mechanism to assist the election commissioner with complaints that may come in. And finally after all of this we will be doing a lessons learned exercise. And it will be quite big because we will do it in the three regions of Bougainville, the north, central and south. And then we will have a bigger one combining everything that we have learned in the three regions into one and we will then follow up with a briefing back to the PNG government. Now that's quite important because there are several elections coming up later on. There will be a local level, or what we call the council of elders elections in Bougainville next year, in 2016. We also have the national elections in 2017 and then of course afterwards as per the provisions in the Bougainville peace agreement there may be a referendum if the governments agree. Therefore some of the things we are learning now from this election may also inform how the preparations go.
DON WISEMAN: In terms of preparing people for the election, to what extent are you putting any focus on what has got to happen in the next term and that's the preparation for this referendum?
JB: Well we are not touching on the referendum per se at the moment. What we are wanting to do is to assist the government, both governments. You know a referendum is essentially like an election, not voting a person in but voting on a political future. So the processes will be similar, for example looking at the common roll, eligibility, and all of that. So some of those things will be similar but of course specific to the referendum. So we wanted to also assist by learning as well. When elections are run, what are some of the things that could be addressed or better supported and therefore as I said, focus is on the next elections coming up but things that may also help the referendum coordination.
DW: You are coordinating monitors. How many monitors have you got and where are they coming from?
JB: We are just now starting the accreditation processes for the missions that have been invited by the Papua New Guinea government. So far we have received I think some numbers that might go up to about 20. We know we are going to have Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the European Union. We also have some institutions like the Australian National University, they have sent in their application for accreditation. So this week we are working with the electoral commissioner, assisting him with advisory support for him to accredit them And we should know by the end of Friday how many will arrive and on Saturday the first teams would arrive in Bougainville and we will be starting a briefing for those that arrive.
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