News / Asia

Pro-Military Party Claims Almost 80 Percent of Votes in Burma Election

Senior General Than Shwe, leader of the Myanmar's military government casts his ballot for the elections in Naypyitaw, Myanmar's administrative capital, 7 Nov 2010.
Senior General Than Shwe, leader of the Myanmar's military government casts his ballot for the elections in Naypyitaw, Myanmar's administrative capital, 7 Nov 2010.

A party allied with Burma's military appears to have captured most of the seats in national elections. But the largest pro-democracy parties and rights groups accused the military government of openly manipulating the vote.

Burma's pro-democracy parties conceded defeat Tuesday after the largest pro-military party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, said it had won up to 80 percent of the parliament seats being contested.

The National Democratic Force and the Democratic Party both said they had lost Sunday's election.

On Tuesday at least six parties lodged complaints with the election commission, claiming state workers were forced to vote for the pro-military parties.

Cheery Zahau, a coordinator with the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma, says the group's research supported the allegations.

"USDP really forcing people to join the party and once they join the party they tell the people they must vote for the party or otherwise their [rights] will be taken away, they will lose their job and they will face problems … they will be forgotten basically in the society, in the community," Zahau said.

Rights groups, Burmese democracy activists and much of the world have dismissed the election as a sham because of campaign laws that hampered opposition candidates.

The military government, however, says the election, the first in 20 years, is part of a plan to create a civilian government after nearly 50 years of army rule.

Under the 2008 constitution a quarter of the parliament seats were set aside for the armed forces, even before the election.

Human Rights Watch spokesman Sunai Pasuk says the outcome is unlikely to improve Burma's political and economic climate.

"It doesn't matter what the result will become, " Sunai said,  "no matter how big the margin of the victory that the military backed party will achieve, this election is a sham from the beginning. It is not even a real electoral contest. It doesn't matter how many votes the military backed party has gained it will not lead to any improvement in the situation in Burma."

But Chulalongkorn political science professor Thitinan Pongsudirak says while the election was flawed, it could open the way for new political voices.

"These elections may provide yet in the medium-term going forward some movement, some new dynamics that could lead to some kind of opening," Thitinan said. "It's unlikely to be a full-fledged democracy like many people hope but some change. The last 20 years of a classic military regime, dictatorship, we have to hold out a little bit of hope."

The National League for Democracy won the last election in 1990. But it was never allowed to take power, and some of its leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, have spent most of the years since under arrest.

The results come as clashes along Burma's border with Thailand between ethnic militia and the army appeared to die down. Fighting Sunday and Monday in the Burmese town of Myawaddy forced thousands of Burmese to flee into Thailand seeking temporary shelter. But Tuesday evening, most were heading home after the Thai government said it was safe.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs