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Myanmar to Fix Voter Lists Before Election

FILE - Myanmar citizens wait for their turn outside the Myanmar Embassy in Singapore to cast advance ballots in the country's Nov. 8 general election, Oct. 18, 2015.

Election officials in Myanmar say they are working on fixing the national voter list ahead of general elections next month.

Tin Tun, head of the Union Election Commission (UEC), said Tuesday that corrections were needed on the voter list that was released last month.

“We will issue the final voter lists starting November 2, since there are submissions of correction forms on inaccuracies and [people] missing in the previously issued lists," he said. "So the list will be released at every local election commission office on November 2, and will be at the polling stations on 6th and 7th of November.”

General elections are set for November 8.

Tin Tun also said mistakes by the UEC and voters caused problems with advance voting at Myanmar embassies around the world in the past two weeks. “We are sorry to learn that all of our Burmese citizens abroad couldn’t vote," he said, adding that officials had done the best job they could within the time available.

Part of the problem, Tin Tun said, was that some voters had given inaccurate addresses. He said the UEC would extend advance voting and send new ballots to embassies in Singapore, Toyko and Seoul.

Myanmar embassies in various countries have faced thousands of angry citizens complaining about delays and denials of the right to vote.

Meanwhile, the UEC has done away with polling stations in four more townships in Shan State because of security concerns. The commission had previously announced the elimination of polling stations in 13 townships in Shan and Kachin states.

The general election will be the first since a nominally civilian government was installed in 2011. But with the military still firmly in control of the process, there is widespread speculation about whether the election will be free and fair.

Last week, National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi called for vigorous international monitoring of her country's general elections.

Her party won 43 seats in parliamentary by-elections in 2012. But the last time the NLD took part in a national election was in 1990, when it scored a landslide victory that the country's military rulers ignored.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.