WRITS FOR BOUGAINVILLE RECONCILIATION GOVERNMENT ISSUED, SAY REBELS

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RABAUL, Papua New Guinea (March 30, 1999 - The National)---The Bougainville Constituent Assembly has issued writs for polls to be held to form the Bougainville Reconciliation Government (BRG), amid strong resistance by the opposition on the legality of the election.

Rebel Spokesman Andrew Miriki confirmed last Thursday's the issuing of the writs and said the assembly also approved the redrawing of the electoral boundaries on Bougainville, and a 14-day nomination period starting last Thursday.

He said under the new electoral boundary, Bougainville will have 29 new constituencies on top of the present 40.

These motions were made without the consent of the Electoral Commission, the only institution with the legal mandate to decide on election related issues.

Mr. Miriki said electoral officials based in Buka have been given full responsibility by the assembly to run the election in line with the new BRG constitution.

The electoral office in Buka is expected to announce the days for the election this week, he said. "In other wards, we hope to have the election in progress in the next two weeks."

Mr. Miriki said apart from the 69 constituencies, there will be appointed members from resistance factions, women's groups, churches, and rebel chief Francis Ona's group in the new congress.

The elected and appointed congress members will then elect a president and two vice-presidents. "It is all in line with our (BRG) constitution," he said.

Mr. Miriki said the four Bougainville national MPs will automatically become members of the congress following the election.

Other issues such as disarmament will be discussed only after the election, he said.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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