23 September 2010

Indifferent mood greets Burma polls

There are six weeks to go before Burma's first election in 20 years, but many feel that the result is already clear.

Although over 30 political parties will contest the 1,163 seats in the national and regional parliaments, most people believe that the same faces that rule Burma now will be in power after the polls.

The government has founded its own political party - the Union Solidarity and Development Party - headed by the incumbent prime minister.

Most ministers and senior military officers who in recent weeks have resigned from their army positions will run for the USDP.

While other parties struggle to find enough candidates, the USDP is the only party that will contest all constituencies.

The election law provides that when there is only one candidate in a constituency then that candidate will be declared the winner. This means that the government party has already bagged a number of seats even before elections are held.

These seats will be supplemented by the 25% of seats guaranteed under the new constitution for the military, which means unelected military officers will sit in parliament.--Full story at BBC News

17 September 2010

Burma bars elections in 'troubled' areas

Several areas of Burma will be barred from taking part in November's general election, state media have reported.

State television said the electoral commission had decided that the vote in a number of townships in five states would not be free and fair.

The states are home to armed ethnic groups which have been resisting the Burmese junta's attempts to integrate them into a border guard force.

Critics have already described the elections in Burma (Myanmar) as a sham.
On Thursday, Burmese state TV quoted the electoral commission as saying that "the election will not be held in several constituencies where free and fair elections could not be held".

The commission said the polls would be cancelled in several townships in the states of Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon and Shan.

It was not immediately clear exactly how many constituencies had been erased from the vote.

Ethnic groups in the five states - mostly along Burma's eastern and northern border - have been seeking more autonomy from the central government since the country's independence in 1948.--Full story at BBC News

16 September 2010

Ban worried by Myanmar

UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Wednesday expressed concern at the dissolution of the political party of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

'The secretary general once again urges the Myanmar authorities to ensure conditions for a fully inclusive and participatory electoral process,' said a spokesman for Ban.

Mr Ban also 'expressed his frustration concerning access to the Myanmar authorities,' the spokesman said.

Myanmar's election commission has announced that Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy had been abolished under poll rules for failing to re-register ahead of the November 7 vote. Nine other parties were also banned.--Full story at The Straits Times

15 September 2010

Suu Kyi's party dissolved

YANGON - Myanmar's election body has confirmed the abolition of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party along with nine others ahead of November elections, state media reported on Tuesday.

Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy is one of five parties forcibly dissolved after failing to apply to continue their activities, state media announced, quoting the Union Election Commission.

It was the first time state media has announced the NLD's dissolution, although it has been previously confirmed by officials after the party decided to boycott the upcoming election, saying the rules were unfair.--Full story at The Straits Times

10 September 2010

Govt urges Myanmarese to vote

YANGON - Official media in military-ruled Myanmar told citizens on Friday they would be irresponsible if they did not vote in a November election, a poll seen as a sham by many, especially with the main opposition party not running.

This was the first time that state newspapers, seen as a mouthpiece of the army regime, have broached the subject of a boycott.

Detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has called on members of her party, which swept Myanmar's last election in 1990 but was never allowed to take power, not to vote, but she has not called for a boycott.--Full story at The Straits Times

04 September 2010

Chinese warships end first Burma visit

Two Chinese warships have completed a first ever trip to Burma.

The five-day visit, by two ships in China's anti-piracy taskforce, highlighted China's growing naval reach and its close ties with Rangoon.

China also says it will receive a visit next week from the head of Burma's military government, Than Shwe.

He is to meet the Chinese Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, during a four-day trip which will take him to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.--Full story at BBC News