Burma has refused to accept two Australian politicians who had been nominated to observe this weekend’s by-elections.

Federal Labor MP Janelle Saffin and Liberal Senator Mathias Cormann had been selected to be part of the delegation of five.

Ms Saffin says Burma’s ambassador in Canberra has confirmed the decision.

She says the refusal casts doubt over the whole election process.

“Things like this just add to it not being seen as free and fair,” she said.

“It’s not free and fair anyway in terms of the legal framework, but it was to be the start of a really open process, and situations like this certainly do not help that.”

Burma’s ambassador to Australia, Paw Lwin Sein, says observer countries were only ever invited to send two officials and three members of the media to monitor elections.

He says Australia had already nominated its two officials before the embassy received Ms Saffin’s request.

A total of 48 by-elections will be held on April 1, contested by the opposition National League for Democracy, including its leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Burma’s government is hoping a process that is judged fair will lead to Western sanctions being relaxed.     http://au.news.yahoo.com/nsw/latest/a/-/article/13296063/burma-knocks-back-australian-election-monitors/

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