PNG – Bougainville

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The Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB) is part of Papua New Guinea. Following the end of the twenty year conflict, a new constitution and electoral system were devised for the newly autonomous region in 2002. The 2004 Constitution of ARB has guided the region for the last 15 years.

The 2004 Constitution included three seats in the new legislature that would be reserved for women (and three seats would also be reserved for ex-combatants). It was further decided that the seats would be elected directly by the people. Both women and men are allowed to vote for all seats. Bougainville has 33 constituencies to elect ordinary members. The province is also divided into 3 bigger constituencies – North, Central and South – and these are used for the 3 seats reserved for women and ex-combatants. Each voter casts 3 votes for representatives in the Legislative Assembly – one for their local MP, one for the reserved woman’s seat and one for the reserved ex-combatant’s seat.

In 2005 and 2010, three women were elected to fill the three Reserved Regional Seats for women in the Bougainville Parliament. In 2015, for the first time, in addition to electing women into the three Reserved Regional Seats, Hon Josephine Getsi became the first women to be elected to an Open Seat, when she won in the Peit electorate.

In 2019, a referendum was held in ARB to decide its long-term future. The two options presented were independence or some form of “greater autonomy”. The Region voted overwhelmingly for independence. The ARB Government subsequently entered into a period of negotiations to determine how the vote will be implemented in practice. During this period, ARB’s current Constitution has required that an election is held, as ARB has elections every 5 years.

Elections for the ARB President and ARB Parliament were held from 12 August to 1 September 2020. Three women were elected to each Reserved Regional Seats for women, and Hon Theonila Roka Matbob became only the second women in Bougainville to be elected into an Open Seat; this means there will be four women MPs out of 39 ordinary members of the House. (The separately elected President and the Speaker of Parliament (who is chosen from outside the cohort of MPs) are also members of the House.)

No Women MPs

Hon Amanda Masono Getsi

Party: UBF

Electorate: North - Women's Regional

Province: AROB

Political Status: Member of Parliament

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Hon Theonila Roka Matbob

Party: Independent

Electorate: Ioro Open

Province: AROB

Political Status: Member of Parliament

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Hon Therese Naru Kaetavara

Party: N/A

Electorate: South - Women's Regional

Province: AROB

Political Status: Member of Parliament

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Hon Yolande Geraldine Paul

Party: BPAP

Electorate: Central - Women's Regional

Province: AROB

Political Status: Member of Parliament