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Bougainville overwhelmingly votes for independence from Papua New Guinea

Reuters SYDNEY | Updated on December 11, 2019 Published on December 11, 2019

A vehicle flying a Bougainville flag drives by during a non-binding independence referendum in Arawa, on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville November 26, 2019.   -  REUTERS

The South Pacific islands of Bougainville have overwhelmingly voted to be independent from Papua New Guinea, the referendum commission said on Wednesday, in a historic poll that will trigger separation negotiations between the two governments.

Almost 98 per cent of the 1,81,067 votes cast backed independence in the non-binding poll that is part of a peace pact struck in the aftermath of a decade-long war between Bougainville's rebel fighters and PNG forces, which ended in 1998.

The referendum gave voters in the island cluster a choice between independence and greater autonomy.

Published on December 11, 2019
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