News / Asia

US President Calls Burma Elections 'Sham'

US President Barack Obama, left, adjusts a microphone as Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono walks behind before a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, 09 Nov 2010
US President Barack Obama, left, adjusts a microphone as Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono walks behind before a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, 09 Nov 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama has repeated his charge that Burma's election Sunday was neither free nor fair, and called on Burma to release political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, whose term of house arrest ends on Saturday.

Mr. Obama made the comments during a news conference in Indonesia, where he is on a state visit. He commended Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for standing up to Burma on what he called "sham" elections.

Senior officials with Burma's ruling party, the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, have told reporters the party got as much as 80 percent of the votes in the country's first election in 20 years.

Pro-democracy parties said cheating appears to have robbed them of seats they had expected to win. In addition, ruling party candidates ran unopposed in some parts of the country. Official results are expected in the next few days.

Restrictive rules had made it impossible for the opposition parties - the National Democratic Force and the Democratic Party - to contest more than a small percentage of the seats.

Officials for the two parties say they have done worse than expected, however, even in those constituencies - partly because of controversial "advance votes," which swung the results to the USDP.

Despite the complaints of fraud, Vietnam on Tuesday issued a statement on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations describing the election as a "significant step forward." The statement also encouraged Burma to "accelerate the process of national reconciliation and democratization."

China's Foreign Ministry also welcomed the election, calling it a "critical step" on the road to an elected government. Most Western and other Asian nations, though, have criticized the election as a lost opportunity to move toward reconciliation and stability.

Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy, has been in detention, off and on, for most of the past 20 years. Her party boycotted the vote because of what it said were unfair rules. It won the country's last elections in 1990 but the military refused to let it take office.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid