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Week 35: 2010 Election Watch (2-8 November)

By Altsean-Burma  •  November 12, 2010

Developments

UWidespread evidence of electoral fraud, irregularities, threats, harassment, and lack of independent monitoring characterized Election Day and the days leading up to it:

  • In the days before the election, local SPDC officials, polling station officials, and Union Solidarity and Development (USDP) members throughout the country solicited advance and proxy votes, in the overwhelming majority of cases specifically for the USDP.
  • In many races, the addition of large numbers of advance votes for the USDP tipped the balance in favor of its candidates.
  • Local SPDC officials, Election Sub-commission members, polling station officials, and USDP members harassed, detained, and discriminated against members and supporters of “opposition” parties and prevented them from monitoring the vote.
  • SPDC officials and members of local Election Sub-commissions actively campaigned for USDP candidates. USDP members campaigned in the vicinity of – and sometimes inside – polling stations, in direct violation of the SPDC election laws.
  • Polling station officials failed to act in a professional, transparent, and impartial manner. In many cases, polling station officials denied voters the right to vote and invalidated votes for “opposition” parties.
  • Booths at polling stations did not allow voters sufficient privacy to cast their votes. Ballot boxes at polling stations were not adequately secured.
  • Large numbers of voters in ethnic nationality areas found that their names were not on the voter rolls when they went to the polling station.
  • SPDC officials and USDP supporters threatened and harassed journalists and reporters trying to cover the vote. Police in Myawaddy, Karen State, detained a Japanese journalist.
  • The SPDC refused to allow international and domestic observers to monitor all polling activities.
  • At least six political parties filed complaints with the SPDC Election Commission. Various party leaders said that they would not recognize the election results due to alleged fraud and irregularities.

For more developments click here

Reactions

  • Democratic Party (Myanmar) Executive Secretary Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein said the “ugliest and most extreme level of vote-stealing took place.”
  • National Democratic Force (NDF) Chairman Than Nyein said the party “never expected” the polls to be free and fair but that the restrictions were “far more than we anticipated.”
  • NDF leader Khin Maung Swe said that with the large scale advance voting by the USDP “possibly, there will be a boycott of the poll results due to these incidents.”
  • Rakhine Nationals Progressive Party Chairman Aye Maung said that if the USDP won, “ethnic and other pro-democracy parties will boycott the election results.”
  • All Mon Region Democracy Party spokesperson Nai Nwe said that if they lost the election, than “it means the government has cheated.”
  • UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-moon said the “voting was held in conditions that were insufficiently inclusive, participatory and transparent.”
  • Japan’s FM Seiji Maehara said the elections “cannot be said to be complete and fair.”
  • US President Barack Obama said it was “unacceptable to steal elections, as the regime in Burma has done again for all the world to see.”
  • Canada’s FM Lawrence Cannon said “Canada is deeply disappointed that the regime did not live up to its own commitment to hold a free and fair election.”
  • EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said the SPDC “did not take the necessary steps to ensure a free, fair and inclusive electoral process,” and that they were “not compatible with internationally accepted standards.”
  • ASEAN Chair Vietnam hailed the election as “a significant step forward” and encouraged the country “to continue to accelerate the process of national reconciliation and democratization.”
  • China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei called the elections a “critical step” and said they were carried out in a “steady and smooth manner.”

For more reactions click here

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This post is in: 2010 Elections

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