10 Feb 2003

PNG's Bougainville island on track for autonomous elections and constitution

4:53 pm on 10 February 2003

Bougainville leaders are confident that the Papua New Guinea island will be ready for elections for an autonomous government in July despite concerns about ex combatants going into politics.

Joseph Kabui of the Bougainville People's Congress says expectations to have a constitution before the national parliament prior to the July elections will be met despite the concern.

He says people are opposed to the idea of ex-combatants forming a political block to contest the autonomous elections.

But, Mr Kabui says the support so far has been overwhelming and is accelerating the drive for July elections.

He says the ex-combatant issue will be addressed in the second drafting of the constitution.

"The worry from the people is that the former combatants should not be entering politics under the label of former combatants. Generally people are absolutely delighted with the first draft and now there is a second draft that will be written up accommodating the input and the feedback."

Joseph Kabui of the Bougainville People's Congress