At the referendum, 98 per cent of voters supported Bougainville’s independence. The vote was non-binding. The peace agreement on which it was based gives the Papua New Guinea Parliament ultimate power to decide whether or not Bougainville becomes independent.
Momis has said that the consultation process should lead to an agreement, to be signed in 2022, on the way forward. The president of Bougainville has said that, following the clarity of the referendum result, he would only talk about the scenario of independence.
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has been ambiguous. He has acknowledged the results and, prior to the referendum, he had assured that he would honour “the spirit” of the peace agreements. But after the vote, Marape has also proposed that a “solution” be found “where Bougainville’s desire for self rule is not harmed and PNG’s desire for national unity is embraced.”
These words have been interpreted as a sign that Marape may be thinking of negotiating a final settlement that does not grant full independence to Bougainville.