Former rebel commander Ishmael Toroama was elected Bougainville's president Wednesday and promised to move swiftly to secure full independence from Papua New Guinea.
Toroama -- a commander in the Bougainville Revolutionary Army during the islands' brutal civil war -- takes office after the first general election since a landslide vote last year to split from Papua New Guinea.
"Plans for independence are already portrayed in the Bougainville Peace Agreement, there is no other way we can do this," he told AFP.
"I will, not so much fast-track independence, but immediately look at the powers that we can draw down on from the national government."
Those powers would be used to rebuild the economy and fully liberate his people, he added.
Bougainville's independence vote was the cornerstone of a 2001 peace agreement which followed a decade-long war between Bougainville rebels, Papua New Guinea security forces and foreign mercenaries that left up to 20,000 people dead.
The war, which ended in 1998, was rooted in a struggle for revenues from the now-shuttered Panguna copper mine, which at one point accounted for more than 40 percent of Papua New Guinea's exports.