Francesca Semoso will be the third woman member of parliament in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) national parliament after she won the North Bougainville open seat in a by-election last week.
The MP-elect also becomes the first woman from Bougainville to win a seat in PNG’s national parliament.
The by-election followed the sudden death of William Nakin in July, who had retained the seat but died during the vote count last year.
Semoso, who has been a member of the Bougainville parliament on two occasions, holding senior posts, formerly worked as a broadcaster.
The new MP has previously told RNZ Pacific that her main focus as a member of the national parliament will be on helping the region achieve its push for independence from PNG.
ABG President IShmael Toroama said “For more than a year our people of North Bougainville were deprived of the right of representation in the National Parliament” following the death Nakin.
He said he was glad that the people of North Bougainville would finally have representation in the national parliament.
“Semoso is not new to the political scene. She is a seasoned politician in Bougainville having been elected the Woman Representative for North Bougainville twice in the Bougainville House of Representatives; first in the inaugural First House and she served her second term in the Third House.
“Semoso is a strong advocate of social issues, and progressive development and an even stauncher advocate of Bougainville’s desire for political independence from Papua New Guinea. She will champion Bougainville’s Independence aspirations on the floor of the National Parliament to the best of her ability,” he said.
Toroama said with the election of Semoso, “the leadership vacuum in Bougainville has now been filled”.
“Bougainville’s leaders in the National Parliament and the Autonomous Bougainville Government must unite under one cause and that is delivering our people’s ultimate desire for an Independent Sovereign State of Bougainville.