SINATO, MIRIKI WIN SEATS IN BOUGAINVILLE POLL

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By Philip Kepson

RABAUL, Papua New Guinea (May 17, 1999 – The National)---Former Bougainville Transitional Government (BTG) Premier Gerard Sinato and rebel front man Andrew Miriki were among the first to be declared winners in the Bougainville Peoples Congress (BPC) election.

According to election officials at the Hurtzena High School central counting station in Buka, Mr. Sinato, who is also co-chairman of the Bougainville Constituent Assembly (BCA), scored a total of 190 votes to his closest rival's 120, to win the Rapoi seat in Konua sub-district, South Bougainville.

The details for the other winners were not available at the weekend after provincial electoral officer Mathias Pehei suspended the counting on Friday.

However, according to a brief which was later made available to Radio Bougainville in Buka, Mr. Miriki was declared winner for the Wisai constituency in Buin, South Bougainville while William Lavoa was declared winner for the Torokina constituency.

In Buka, where the chiefs were given the task by the BCA to select their representatives, former Provincial Administrator George Lesi was the only candidate to be officially declared as the selected member for Tsitalato.

The chiefs were still in the process of selecting representatives for the other 13 constituencies.

Three incumbents who were declared unopposed in Central Bougainville were: Richard Avene (Hahon/Buka), Jonathon Ngati (Motuana/South), and Albert Ponghau (Huyono/South).

Mr. Pehei said earlier on Friday that a total of 110 ballot boxes from different parts of Bougainville were registered for counting.

He said the rest of the winners would be officially declared after counting was completed by the 45 provincial public servants and 20 police personnel engaged for the task.

Meanwhile, acting provincial administrator John Siau commended the provincial electoral officials and the district managers who were involved in the running of the peaceful elections.

"I commend the electoral officials including Mr. Pehei and his returning officers in the respective districts for ensuring that the election was trouble free despite difficult circumstances," said Mr. Siau.

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

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