310511 LAUTA WINS ELECTION
By Tom Kathoa
The dreams and aspirations of the people of the Atolls of Bougainville to have one of their sons as a member of parliament has now become a reality with the declaration of candidate Lauta Atoi as winner of the North Bougainville Open seat by election.
Mr. Atoi who has contested two other past national elections has finally made it this time.
He contested the by election as an independent candidate, but with the endorsement and moral support of some parties in the likes of the New Bougainville Party.
At the start of counting, the member elect polled very well collecting votes in all the fourteen constituencies in the North Bougainville region.
His lead was never threatened by the other candidates as the margin between him and the closest candidate was always in the hundreds.
While candidates below him shared the lead, Mr. Atoi continued to cling fast onto the number one spot right from the start to the end and eventual declaration.
The finale figures of 10,463 with a difference of 5301 between him and his runner-up is confirmation of the great support the new member has from the people of North Bougainville.
The just concluded by election was caused by the elevation of former member, Michael Ogio to the position of Governor General in January this year.
Writs for the by election would be returned on the tenth of this month, with the member elect to attend his first sitting of the national parliament during this session.
310511ABG commends Atoi
By MARIA LAUKAI
ABG deputy administrator for policy Raymond Masono in his congratulatory remarks urged North Bougainville new member elect Lauta Atoi to do his best in delivering basic development services to the people of North Bougainville.
He said Bougainville are intelligent people and are also free people.
Mr Masono said despite Mr Atoi being a member of a minority group, the people of Bougainville were genuine and intelligent enough to vote for the kind of leadership Mr Atoi would bring.
He added that there are people in the most remote part of North Bougainville who are crying out for basic services like education and health.
Mr Masono urged that these were the kind of services, leaders like Mr Atoi must aspire to deliver.
310511 Democracy thrives in Bougainville
By MARIA LAUKAI
Bougainville Assisting Police Commissioner ACP Thomas Eluh in congratulating North Bougainville member elect Lauta Atoi, appealed to all Bougainvilleans to work together to move the region forward.
He said Bougainville is a special case, because of the crisis and after the signing of the peace agreement that the region is constantly under the scrutiny of everyone including the international community.
He added that the election process draws a lot of attention and thanked everyone for proving critics wrong.
ACP Eluh said the people of North Bougainville have proven that Bougainville is a place where democracy thrives and indicates that Bougainvilleans are a law abiding and peace loving people.
He commended the Bougainville Police Service (BPS) for their selfless dedication to ensuring the by-election was conducted peacefully despite the officers not yet receiving their allowances from the K3 million that the PNG electoral commission is yet to give to BPS for its services.
ACP Eluh also appealed to candidates who lost to forget their differences and work with the new member elect.
He said politics is a dirty game and if leaders are not careful, politics can divide the people.
ACP Eluh urged that the leaders put aside their differences and work together to serve the people of Bougainville
310511Lauta Atoi pledges to deliver
By MARIA LAUKAI
North Bougainville member elect Lauta Atoi, in accepting his new role, thanked everyone for their support and also acknowledged members of the New Bougainville Party and churches in Buka for their prayers and assistance.
To all his voters and campaign team, he urged that they stay focused on their primary reason for contesting the by-election.
He added that the wining of the by-election was just the beginning of their journey and urged that they stay focused on delivering the immediate needs of the North Bougainville people.
Mr. Atoi said his short term plans were to complete all incomplete projects of the former member like delivery of water tanks and assisting the people of the west coast atolls.
While his medium and long term plans were to focus on boosting the economic growth of the North region.
He urged told supporters and witnesses that there was no time to celebrate as he had only six months to take care of the people of North Bougainville.
Mr Atoi also invited the candidates who lost and their supporters to work closely with him.
He told witnesses at the declaration ceremony today that his opponents had very good ideas which they could together work on for a better Bougainville.
310511Atoi wins North Bougainville seat
By MARIA LAUKAI
Businessman Lauta Atoi is the new member elect for the North Bougainville open seat after racing to victory with 10,463 votes over his final eliminated opponent and only female candidate Rachael Opeti Konaka.
Ms Konaka completed the by-election contest with 5,162 votes. Mr Atoi will now occupy for the next six months, the North Bougainville open seat left vacant by former member and Governor General of PNG Sir Michael Ogio.
In congratulating Mr Atoi on his win, Bougainville Electoral Commisioner and returning officer Reitama Taravaru said generally, the election was peaceful and carried out with respect.
He thanked the PNG and Bougainville electoral commission officers, volunteers and the Bougainville Police Service for a job well done before declaring Mr. Atoi as the new member elect
010611 RACHAEL A REAL FIGHTER
By Tom Kathoa
Women in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have a place in the politics and governance of the region.
The result of the lone female candidate, Rachael Opeti Konaka in the just completed North Bougainville Open by election speaks volume of the potential women have and can contribute to the development of the region in all areas of activity.
MS. Konaka has put up a good fight against her more experienced male candidates defeating twenty of them to secure the number two spot in the race.
She polled 5162 votes to be all the other male candidates except for candidate Lauta Atoi who has won the by election convincingly with a total of 10,463 votes.
Ms. Konaka did not do well on preferential votes, but did very well on the number two votes which elevated her to be the runner-up to the winning candidate.
The finale count again for the top three candidates are; Lauta Atoi winning with 10,463 in second place is Rachael Opeti Konaka on 5,162 and in third place is PDM candidate, Damien Kora who collected 5,146 votes.
The finale result was arrived at following the elimination of candidate Donald Hamau to give Lauto the final winning and deciding votes.