Suu Kyi questions the fairness of the Burmese election

(Mizzima) – Aung San Suu Kyi cited more voter registration problems and campaign abuses in the Burmese election on Monday, saying campaign abuses threaten the fairness of the election. She said nearly 1,387 potential voters were left off the rolls in the constituency she is campaigning in.

Suu Kyi campaigns in Mawlamyaing. Photo: MizzimaSuu Kyi campaigns in Mawlamyaing. Photo: Mizzima

“At this point, the voter lists in some constituencies were found to be incomplete and full of errors,” the National League for Democracy (NLD) party said in a statement. “It is hereby announced that these incidents can affect the emergence of a free and fair election.”

The NLD party, which will contest for 47 seats in the April 1 by-election, cited other instances of voter rolls having the names of dead persons, the insane and people who have moved from the district listed as potential voters. The statement said campaign irregularities in Sagaing, Tanintharyi and Mandalay regions threaten to jeopardize a fair election.

The statement cited the specific actions of government-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) candidate Dr. San Win, who it said ordered villagers in Samyin village, Mingin Township, Sagaing Region, to send one family member to his party meeting on March 16. San Win also slandered Suu Kyi, according to the statement.  

In Launglon Township in Tanintharyi Region, advance ballots were already being collected, the NLD said, although the Union Election Commission has said advanced ballots should be collected only after March 30-31.

Also large NLD campaign posters (6 x 4 feet) in Shanyaykyaw village in Myaungmya Township in Irrawaddy Region were defaced on March 16, it said.

“Pictures of [candidate] Mann Johnny were cut,” Win Shwe, a member of the Myaungmya Township NLD electoral campaign committee, told Mizzima. He said a lawsuit was filed in Myaungmya Township on Sunday and police are investigating.

The NLD said similar incidents occurred in Maungyan village in Ottara Thiri Township in Naypyitaw on March 12; and in Chanmyathazi and Pyigyitagun townships in Mandalay Region. Other incidents have involved people distributing leaflets that personally attack Suu Kyi, said NLD officials.

Earlier, Suu Kyi told voters that the government was preventing the NLD from acquiring proper venues to hold campaign rallies.

The NLD’s evaluation of the fairness of the election is critical for the ruling government if it is to be declared free, fair and transparent, a requirement of western governments for the removal of further sanctions. This is only the second election in the country in the past two decades.

Suu Kyi, who is seeking a seat in Parliament, and the other 46 NLD candidates, have lent the by-election an aura of credibility, which appears to be threatened by recent abuses and campaign incidents.

The NLD said 54 villages in Suu Kyi’s constituency of Kawhmu, a poor area south of Rangoon, had a total of 413 dead people on the voter rolls. The government has not made available the voter lists for the capital, Naypyitaw, a stronghold of the USDP, it said.

Despite calls to allow international election observers to monitor the voting process, the newly elected government has so far rejected the pleas. The last election was widely criticized as badly flawed amid accusations of ballot stuffing and other irregularities.

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