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Kabui died of apparent heart attack earlier this month

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 2, 2008) – The Autonomous Region of Bougainville will go into a by-election to elect their new president.

Acting President John Tabinaman yesterday ended days of speculation with the announcement for the seat left vacant by the death of President Joseph Kabui.

[PIR editor’s note: Kabui, first president of the semi-autonomous province of Bougainville, died June 7 of an apparent heart attack. The province was established in 2000 following a peace agreement between the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army (BRA), a guerrilla movement. ]

He said the Bougainville Executive Council (BEC) decision to stage a by election complied with the Bougainville Constitution.

"The Government’s decision approving the staging of a by-election to fill the vacancy in the seat of the President now sets into motion constitutional and administrative processes leading towards the date for the election of the President by the people," Mr Tabinaman said.

"The Bougainville administration has been directed to implement the BEC decision which calls for an immediate appointment of Mathias Pihei as the Bougainville Electoral Commissioner responsible for the conduct of the by-elections of the President, appointment and gazettal of the Members of the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee and a draft Bill for presentation at the September session of the Bougainville House of Representatives on the basic procedures to be followed by the Bougainville Senior Appointments Committee in making appointments."

Mr Tabinaman authorize Mr Pihei to make preparations for the staging of the Ramu by-election concurrently with the by-election for the seat of the President, and requested assistance from the National Electoral Commissioner Andrew Trawen and the Australian Electoral Commissioner in finslaising all preparations for the by-elections, establish the Office of Electoral Commissioner and prepare a briefing paper on the status of the preparations for presentation to BEC.

Mr Tabinaman said the decisions on a by-election to fill the seat of the President and other options presented to the BEC would be referred to the next meeting of the Bouganville House of Representatives.

Speaker Nick Peniai will set a date and time for Parliament to deliberate on these agendas.

He said the possible dates for the by-election for the Ramu Constituency and the seat of the President as indicated by the acting Bouganville Electoral Commissioner would be either late October of early November this year.

The other options presented to the BEC include early general elections, amendment to the Bougainville Constitution to allow the members of the House of Representatives to elect a new president and amendments to the constitution to allow the Vice President to become President for the balance of the normal five-year term of the ABG.

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:

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