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Saturday, 6 March 2021

Bougainville poised to become world's newest nation

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Bougainville poised to become world's newest nation
Bougainville poised to become world's newest nation

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 embolden separatists as they start negotiating the terms of their sovereignty.

Almost 98% of the 181,067 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.

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