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

    Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees with Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees with Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.