26 May 2005

PNG's Bougainville election attracts many voters in no-go zone

1:34 pm on 26 May 2005

Reports from Papua New Guinea say that with polling winding up in most parts of Bougainville, voters in the no go zone are suddenly turning out to vote.

The National newspaper quotes the election manager, Mathias Pihei, as saying the Meekamui leader, Francis Ona, has succumbed to pressures from his own followers and has allowed them to vote in the election.

Mr. Pihei says voters turned out yesterday at the Panguna mine site workshop, and due to the high turnout, the presiding officer requested an extra day of polling there.

Officials in Arawa also asked for an extension after large numbers of voters turned out in the Ioro constituency inside the no go zone.

Mr Pihei says most of the polling teams will be winding up today and counting is expected to start on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

The counting date will be confirmed when the MV Sankamap arrives in Buka with ballot boxes from the Atolls.