The is under way for the possible of a new member to the global family of . The people of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea have voted for independence in a referendum. The vote was held on the between the 23rd of November and the 7th of December. The vote was a non- referendum, which means the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government does not have to pass it into . However, PNG gave the vote its full and should now consider acting on the result of the vote. Voters had two - greater or full independence. Over 181,000 people cast their ballot and nearly 98 per cent of them voted in favour of independence.
Bougainville is the island of the PNG chain of islands. It is part of the Solomon Islands archipelago and used to be known as the Republic of North Solomons. It has a of around 250,000 people. Bougainvilleans started a fight to achieve their independence in the 1960s. This was a before Papua New Guinea was granted independence in 1975. Bougainville was declared of PNG in 1976. This sparked the Bougainville Civil War between 1988–1998. Over 20,000 people lost their in that . The Prime Minister of PNG said: "I ask for time for the people of PNG to absorb and process this ." He said his government was committed to adhering to the poll's .