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

Diplomats Work to Extend Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

US Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gathered in Paris Saturday to discuss crisis More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid