House welcomes first Bougainville woman MP

Francesca Semoso MP (Photo: Autonomous Bougainville Government/Facebook)

The people of Bougainville have set a record when they for the first time in the 48 years’ political history of this country voted a women leader to the National Parliament, newly elected Member for North Bougainville Francesca Semoso said.

Semoso while thanking the people of North Bougainville said she is honoured and privileged to have been given the mandate to represent them in Parliament.

“I thank the people of North Bougainville for voting me in and I must say I am honoured and privileged to be representing the people of North Bougainville as their elected member.

“I want to say thank you that, in the last 48 years, a mother has been voted in to represent the people of Bougainville in this House,” she said.

Semoso also thanked the Pangu Party led by Prime Minister James Marape for the support given during the election.

She said although not many women leaders have been elected in Parliament, there are three of them now representing their respective electorates, and they include Rufina Peter as Central Governor, Minister for Industrial Relations and Member for Rai Coast Kessy Sawang, and herself, representing the people of North Bougainville, who was only voted in two weeks ago and made her first appearance on the floor of Parliament.

“When we stand up, please give us the preference so we are given the opportunity to speak on behalf of our people. I want the support to come from you all in this honourable House,” she said.

The acting Speaker Koni Iguan when calling for order, said Chair supports the call and equal recognition will be given to the three women leaders.

“Thank you Speaker, for recognising me as I represent the women of North Bougainville.

I am proud I have Rufina Peter on my right and I have Kessy Sawang on my left of the honourable House.

“We worked together earlier but they came in earlier to this House and I followed them and came in two weeks ago,” she said.

Deputy Prime Minister John Rosso when congratulating Semoso thanked the people of North Bougainville for voting in a mother to Parliament and also the people of Wewak for voting in Stanley Samban.

“It is fortunate to see the people of North Bougainville push for a woman candidate to speak for their people in Parliament.

“Thank you to the other women candidates who contested in Wewak and those that have contested the North Bougainville seat in the two by-elections, who are credible candidates, but only one candidate wins.

“I’m happy to see that we have three strong women sitting in Parliament to ensure that the voices of our women have a fair balance or view and we will work together to ensure that the voices of our women are heard. “I am certain that these three strong women will be a voice to be reckoned with on the floor of Parliament,” Rosso said.