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Aung San Suu Kyi meets Vijay Nambiar

Recently released Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi welcomes Vijay Nambiar (left), United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy to Burma, at the front door of the home where the junta kept her for the past seven years under house arrest, in Rangoon on Saturday, November 27, 2010, Nambiar, who is also Ban’s chief of staff, started a two-day trip to Burma today, during which he is also to meet members of Burma’s ruling military junta. Video: Mizzima

Monday, 15 November 2010 12:12

Thoughts of Australians with Suu Kyi, PM says
Prime Minister Julia Gillard read out to the Australian Parliament her letter to Aung San Suu Kyi, passed on by the country’s ambassador to Burma, Michelle Chan, the Australian Associated Press reported. “The Australian people and government share a deep and abiding admiration for you," she said. “Your steadfast commitment to democracy and to the welfare of the Burmese people is a source of inspiration for Australians.”

“Many here will be happy at the news of your release from house arrest but we are fully conscious that the struggle for true democracy in Burma is not at an end. The Australian people and government fervently hope that you and the Burmese people will one day see realised the democracy and justice for which you have fought so hard,” Gillard said.
Party puts Suu Kyi under tight security
National League for Democracy (NLD) has set up three teams to ensure the security of Aung San Suu Kyi amid concerns for her safety, an NLD youth wing member and member of one of the teams, says. “One security team must guard the party headquarters’ entrance. The remaining two … are in charge of close protection. Some people may have been aware of this yesterday. We are trying to provide her with maximum security,” Nyi Nyi Aung, one of the 14 security guards, told Mizzima. The guards said they were willing to sacrifice their lives for Suu Kyi.
Bay of Bengal storm may move towards Arakan: retired meteorologist
Former Burma weather bureau chief Dr. Tun Lwin published a warning today on his website for a storm in the Bay of Bengal. It was … moving westwards, but if it made a turn, it might hit Arakan State in Burma and Bangladesh, he said. “We must watch whether it will make a turn or not. If it makes a turn, we need to prepare with caution. … we have three or four days to prepare. We need to monitor the weather conditions with caution this November as eight per cent of storms can hit Burma … The speed of the storm [travelling speed not wind speed] may reach about 80 miles per hour (130 km/h), but if it makes a turn, the speed may reach more than 100 miles per hour,” he added.
Queen Rania of Jordan Tweets on Suu Kyi's release
HRH Queen Rania al-Abdullah’s Twitter page says: “The gentle flame of justice flickers in Burma. Thank God Aung San Suu Kyi is free." Queen Rania al-Abdullah is the current queen consort of Jordan as the wife of King Abdullah II. She is considered one of the world’s most powerful women. Her work focuses on the quality of education for Jordanian children, and abroad, on advocating global education standards and for world leaders to fulfil their commitments towards the second Millennium Development Goal, universal primary education.
United Nations Burma rights envoy hails Suu Kyi's release
Tomás Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma, in a statement yesterday welcomed the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, and expressed hope that her release would constitute a significant first step towards real change in the country. "The release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is not only important because of her own destiny, but also because it could symbolise a real start for the improvement of the human rights situation, and provides an opportunity for genuine national reconciliation and democractic transition in Myanmar [Burma]," Quintana said. He urged the government to follow this with the release of the remaining prisoners of conscience.

He recommended in a report in March that the UN should consider establishing a commission of inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Burmese junta government. The recommendation was included in an advance, unedited version of his report submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, which published it on its web site. The report said the “gross and systematic” nature of the abuses and the lack of action to stop them indicated “a state policy that involves authorities in the executive, military and judiciary at all levels". It said; “According to consistent reports, the possibility exists that some of these human rights violations may entail categories of crimes against humanity or war crimes under the terms of the statute of the International Criminal Court [known as the Rome Statute]."
Suu Kyi leads NLD intra-party meetings
National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi met around 100 NLD central committee members and representatives from Burma’s states and divisions and NLD legal-aid committee members at NLD headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, at 10 a.m. today. She held separate meetings with NLD vice-chairman Tin Oo and central executive committee member Win Tin. Ohn Kyaing, a spokesman of NLD, said she would also greet foreign diplomats and journalists today.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Convicted fugitive Thaksin again uses Suu Kyi’s image
The beginning of national reconciliation and social justice will happen when political detainees are released, fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said in a statement in response to Aung San Suu Kyi’s release.

The press statement today was released by Thaksin’s legal adviser Noppadon Pattama after the Burmese junta released pro-democracy icon Suu Kyi from house arrest late yesterday.

Thaksin is on the run after being sentenced to two years in jail for corruption. During his tenure, he was also accused of electoral fraud, authoritarianism, conflicts of interest and abuse of freedom of speech by muzzling the media. Independent bodies, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have criticised Thaksin’s human rights record, which included his war against drugs that featured more than 2,500 extrajudicial killings by police. He was also charged with concealing his wealth during his premiership, against laws on holders of political office.

While in power and after visiting Burmese junta generals, Thaksin pushed to arrange low-interest loans from Thailand’s Export and Import Bank to Burma so the military junta could spend the money on his Shin Corp telecoms business, owned by his immediate family. The charge forms one of the many corruption cases against him pending in Thailand’s Supreme Court.

See the full Mizzima story here:
Thaksin wanted leniency towards Burmese junta

To fierce criticism, Thaksin has compared his plight since he was deposed in a military coup for corruption to that of Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela and Mohandas “Mahatma” Ghandi. During Suu Kyi’s time under house arrest, he has travelled the globe, bought houses in London, where his daughter attends university, and gone shopping with her at Louis Vuitton in Paris.
Suu Kyi address to public at NLD office
Suu Kyi holds first press conference since release
The Indian government welcomes Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest, NDTV Hindu reported Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna as saying.
Singapore welcomes release of Suu Kyi
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore, says the city state welcomes the release of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, Channel News Asia has reported. The ministry said her release was a positive step for Burma. It said Singapore and Asean had consistently called on Burma to release Suu Kyi and engage in a meaningful dialogue with her and all political groups, in an open and inclusive process of national reconciliation. It said this would lay the foundation for the country’s long-term political stability and development. The ministry also urged all parties to make a new beginning and work together for the good of the country and the region.

Aung San Suu Kyi addresses a crowd of about 40,000 people outside National League for Democracy headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, a day after her release from house arrest. It was her first organised public speech in seven years. Photo: Mizzima

NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi addresses a crowd of about 40,000 people outside National League for Democracy headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, a day after her release from house arrest. It was her first organised public speech in seven years. Photo: Mizzima

From Suu Kyi’s speech to supporters outside NLD headquarters
NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi addresses a crowd of about 40,000 people outside National League for Democracy headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, a day after her release from house arrest. It was her first organised public speech in seven years. Photo: Mizzima NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi  addresses a crowd of about 40,000 people outside National League for  Democracy headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, a day after her  release from house arrest. It was her first organised public speech in  seven years. Photo:  Mizzima NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi addresses a crowd of about 40,000 people outside National League for Democracy headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, a day after her release from house arrest. It was her first organised public speech in seven years. Photo: Mizzima NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi addresses a crowd of about 40,000 people outside National League for Democracy headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, a day after her release from house arrest. It was her first organised public speech in seven years. Photo: Mizzima NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi  addresses a crowd of about 40,000 people outside National League for  Democracy headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, a day after her  release from house arrest. It was her first organised public speech in  seven years. Photo:  Mizzima NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi addresses  a crowd of about 40,000 people outside National League for Democracy  headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, a day after her release from  house arrest. It was her first organised public speech in seven years.  Photo: Mizzima NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi  addresses a crowd of about 40,000 people outside National League for  Democracy headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, a day after her  release from house arrest. It was her first organised public speech in  seven years. Photo:  Mizzima NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi addresses  a crowd of about 40,000 people outside National League for Democracy  headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, a day after her release from  house arrest. It was her first organised public speech in seven years.  Photo: Mizzima NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi  addresses a crowd of about 40,000 people outside National League for  Democracy headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, a day after her  release from house arrest. It was her first organised public speech in  seven years. Photo:  Mizzima
From Suu Kyi’s speech to supporters outside NLD headquarters
“I don’t hate the people who detained me. I have no personal grudge or hatred against anyone else. I believe in the rule of law. I place a high value on apology. My thanks go to thanks due. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every paragraph starts with the word ‘everyone’. We must respect that concept. Everyone must fulfil their responsibilities and everyone must be duty-conscious. Only through following these principles will our country progress and develop. The people know well whether our country is progressing and developing. The blame game among us for not progressing is useless. I’d like to say please give us authority to do this job. I know well our people will not beg for this right. We demand our just rights. I’d like to honour my colleagues and my colleagues from the democratic struggle who remain languishing in prisons. I wish their immediate release.”

“I’ve always believed in national reconciliation. I’ve said time and again that I’ve worked by depending on the strength of the people. But that will be effective only when we can use this strength systematically. Please let me say to the people again: We cannot achieve victory by merely hoping for it. We can achieve victory if and only if we work with courage and determination for what we want. We also need to explore the best path to achieve victory too.

NLD general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi  addresses a crowd of about 40,000 people outside National League for  Democracy headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, a day after her  release from house arrest. It was her first organised public speech in  seven years. Photo:  Mizzima

From Suu Kyi’s speech to supporters outside NLD headquarters
"Those who took my security [detail] treated me well. I would like to thank them well for their kind treatment. I think it would be better if they treated all the people well too. But I don’t want them to put the entire nation under house arrest as they have done to me. Please don’t put the people under house arrest. I’d like to see them treat the people well.”

“If [the authorities] don’t want to be blamed for bad things, they shouldn’t do bad things. I put high values on good acts and am also thankful for these things. My thanks to those that do good will be endless if they do good things all the time. The people must do what they have to do. Everyone must fulfil their responsibility.”
From Suu Kyi’s speech to supporters outside NLD headquarters
"I want to work alongside the people. I don’t want to work alone. A one-woman show is not a democracy.”

"What is courage? Courage is working with a determined spirit and doing the right work. We ought to work and dare to work.”
Suu Kyi addresses supporters outside party headquarters
Aung San Suu Kyi is addressing at least 40,000 supporters at her party headquarters in Rangoon.

“Nothing can be achieved without the people’s participation. Without it, we can do nothing" she said. “I’m not afraid of responsibility. I’m afraid of only not be able to fulfill this responsibility.”

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Aung San Suu Kyi release
Burmese activists in India celebrate Suu Kyi freedom
Supporters at NLD Office

When barricades were removed

NLD breakaway faction pleased over Suu Kyi’s freedom
Khin Maung Swe, leader of the National Democratic Force, told Mizzima he was delighted pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi had been released and that the NDF was ready to co-operate with her. “We are ready to meet her, if she desires. We want to co-operate with her in the struggle for democracy,” he said, adding that he was without concern that junta authorities would harass his party surrounding such a meeting. “She’s our leader. So, whatever happens, we will meet her. We will tell her why we’ve formed a political party. We’ll explain what we are doing for the people,” he said. While the NLD boycotted the junta’s recent election over its serious legal and ethical flaws, some senior NLD members left to form the NDF, and contested in the election, amid numerous of their own complaints over such flaws.
‘88 students’ leader embraces Suu Kyi’s liberty, but ‘struggle not over’
The 88 Generation Student Youths (Union of Myanmar) chairman Ye Tun was delighted at the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, and said it would usher in many benefits for Burma. “But the struggle for democracy is not over. She has been released at the right time for her to participate in the struggle for democracy. If all parties can co-operate to establish democracy, the pro-democracy alliance will become stronger,” he added.
Tutu ‘absolutely delighted’ about fellow Nobel Peace laureate’s release
Archibishop Desmond Tutu, chairman of The Elders group of emminent world leaders who support peace worldwide, said in response to Aung San Suu Kyi’s release today that “it offers hope to the people of Burma, who face uncertain times following the November 7 elections. She is a global symbol of moral courage and we wish her strength and health as she makes her own transition from such a long period under house arrest".

The Elders also encouraged a further release of all other political prisoners in Burma, and asked the regime to ensure that the terms of Suu Kyi’s release were unconditional and that her political rights as a citizen were defended. “We are of course absolutely delighted that she is free, and stand ready to assist her and the people of Burma in any way that we can.”
During her first appearance after release from house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi greets thousands of cheering, chanting, happy supporters in front of her house on University Avenue in Rangoon, this evening, November 13, 2010. She is flanked by National League for Democracy leaders, lawyer Nyan Win (far right), and party spokesman Ohn Kyaing (second right). The crowd reportedly did not settle for half an hour upon her release and chanted ‘Long Live Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’. Photo: Mizzima Aung San Suu Kyi, upon release from house arrest, greets throngs of cheering, happy crowds in front of her house on University Avenue in Rangoon, this evening, November 13, 2010. She is flanked by National League for Democracy leader and party spokesman Nyan Win (right). The crowd reportedly did not settle for half an hour upon her release and chanted ‘Long Live Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’. Photo: Mizzima Aung San Suu Kyi, upon release from house arrest, greets throngs of cheering, happy crowds in front of her house on University Avenue in Rangoon, this evening, November 13, 2010. She is flanked by National League for Democracy leaders. The crowd did not settle for half an hour upon her release and chanted ‘Long Live Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’. Photo: Mizzima
Obama ‘delighted’ at release of ‘heroine’
Speaking from the White House today, United States President Barack Obama said he was delighted at the release of “heroine” Aung San Suu Kyi.
Dalai Lama: Suu Kyi release also a symbolic freedom for many Burmese
Exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, told ITV ahead of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s release: “This is not only just freedom of one individual, but I think freedom of a lot of people in Burma who are really dedicated to democracy. Then, also I think the image of the Burmese government will improve, so many benefits.”

The spiritual leader was speaking from Hiroshima, Japan, where he was attending the annual World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.
Aung San Suu Kyi goes back into her home
National League for Democracy party vice-chairman Tin Oo and his wife Ohn Kyaing and other senior leaders followed Aung San Suu Kyi back into her home, after Suu Kyi told the crowds that they can meet her at NLD party headquarters in Bahan Township at noon tomorrow.
Suu Kyi speaks to jubilant crowd
Aung San Suu Kyi is speaking to throngs of cheering, chanting, happy crowds in front of her house on University Avenue in Rangoon. She is inside the compound, with crowds swelling outside. She’s wearing a water-hyacinth-coloured blouse and longyi, with single white and red flowers in her hair. People were so excited at seeing her the first time that it took about 30 minutes to quieten them down, the BBC reports.

She said, "We must work in unison to achieve our goals," and appeared very happy, the BBC reports.
Crowd ecstatic as Suu Kyi appears at her front gate after being released from house arrest
Aung San Suu Kyi released from house arrest and appears at the front gate of her University Avenue home, to cheers and overwhelmed cries from thousands of supporters and well-wishers, fellow National League for Democracy leaders standing beside her. Suu Kyi and the other leaders have trouble quietening down the thrilled crowd to allow her to speak. The crowd is chanting her name.
What senior NLD member Win Tin will say to Suu Kyi on her release
"I met her for the last time on the fourth of July, 1989, at her house … I’ve never seen her since then. So, there is only one thing I’d like to tell her when she is released. ‘Daw Suu, you should carry on doing the same thing you’ve always done i.e., politics with the support of people.’ I will tell her to do that with determination and distinction.”

He was arrested soon after the meeting in 1989 and was jailed until 2008.

From an interview with the National League for Democracy central executive committee member and former political prisoner, Win Tin, outside the home of Aung San Suu Kyi today.
NLD youth members return to near Suu Kyi's home
About 100 members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) youth wing have been waiting for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release near her home since 7.30am this morning.

“One stretch of the two-way Hledan Road has been blocked and authorities have cordoned off Sayar San Road. Many people, including journalists, have assembled in the area,” a NLD youth wing member said.

Members were also standing at Kokaine junction, near Suu Kyi’s home yesterday until after midnight but returned home when she was not released. Some NLD youth members were back in the area as early as 4:30am this morning.
Activists assemble at junction of University Avenue and Inya Road
About 50 young people, many who protested against Burma's controversial fuel price hike in August 2007, are waiting for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release at the corner of University Avenue Road and Inya Road, wearing white shirts and traditional black longyis, according to activist Thein Aung Myint.

“We have been waiting for the release of our national leader Aung San Suu Kyi since 7am" he said.
Suu Kyi’s release would be advantageous: NMSP
General Secretary of the New Mon State Party Naing Hantha spoke out today on the potential release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“If she is released, she will be critical about the recent election. And I believe that she would support calls for a second Panlong Conference for national reconciliation, in accordance with the Kalay Declaration".

"In the past, she has urged people to build a strong sense of unity. She may comment on the fighting between junta troops and the DKBA at Myawaddy and Three Pagodas Pass. Her comments will greatly impact Burma’s politics, and I think people will cherish her leadership. So, I’m certain her release will be advantageous", he said.
NLD Leaders, supporters arrive at party headquarters
Around 1,000 Aung San Suu Kyi supporters wait outside of the National League for Democracy headquarters in Bahan township, Rangoon and expect to be able to greet their leader later in the day, party spokesperson Ohn Kyaing told Mizzima.

“We are planning to do as we did yesterday sitting, waiting for her, holding photos and wearing t-shirts” a NLD youth member stated.

The party’s vice chairman Tin Oo, executive committee member Win Tin and other State and Division leaders had already arrived.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Indian lawmaker also denounces Burma polls
Another Indian political party has joined in condemning the Burmese election. Lawmaker Sharad Yadav, president of the Janata Dal (United) party, has called for a new election in Burma under United Nations supervision. He is also convener of the National Democratic Alliance, an opposition centre-right coalition. Video: Mizzima

Suu Kyi’s release will ease tension in Burma: Thai PM
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has expressed the belief that if Burma’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi is freed, tensions in Burma will eventually ease, according to state new website MCOT. The report said however he had not yet received any details from Burmese authorities on her release. The international community wanted her freed, MCOT quoted the PM as saying.
Suu Kyi supporters disperse
National League for Democracy (NLD) supporters waiting for general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi’s release outside party headquarters in Rangoon started dispersing at about 6:30 p.m., an NLD youth-wing member said. Party members and supporters will return tomorrow harbouring fresh hopes of her release, the member said. Journalists and well-wishers who had gathered near Suu Kyi’s home on University Avenue, Rangoon also left the area, witnesses said.
Tweets on Suu Kyi rank fourth worldwide
One of the most discussed worldwide topics on the social-networking site Twitter in the last two hours is Aung San Suu Kyi. Her name features fourth in the top-10 subjects listed. Lawyer Nyan Win said last month she had expressed the wish to set up a Twitter account on her release. Her only current connection with world media is through BBC and Voice of America radio broadcasts.
NLD supporters await Suu Kyi's release
At least 500 supporters of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi await her release outside her National League for Democracy party's headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, today, November 12, 2010, wearing T-shirts and bearing banners with her portrait. Video: Mizzima

Diplomats enter Aung San Suu Kyi’s compound
A few diplomats were seen entering the compound of Aung San Suu Kyi’s home on University Avenue, Rangoon, witnesses say. About 80 people, journalists among them, have gathered in the vicinity of Kokaine junction, the reporters added.
Indian Marxists repeat call for Suu Kyi’s, political prisoners’ release
“We reiterate our demand for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners in Burma. We believe that democracy can be ensured in Burma only through the active participation of all its citizens and the political parties representing their aspirations.”

Fraternal greetings,

Sitaram Yechury
Member Polit Bureau
Head International Department
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Crowd outside NLD head office builds to 500
Nearly 500 members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) youth wing, in T-shirts bearing Aung San Suu Kyi’s portrait and holding aloft her pictures, have gathered in front of NLD headquarters on Shwegondine Road in Bahan Township, Rangoon, awaiting her release, Mizzima reporters say.
Supporters keep vigil outside Suu Kyi’s home
A National League for Democracy (NLD) youth wing member keeping vigil near the compound of Aung San Suu Kyi’s lakeside home in Burma’s former capital of Rangoon today said: “Our members went near her compound and found everything remains the same. We were not allowed to enter the area because it is still an exclusive zone. So we are not sure she will be released.”
Suu Kyi may be released this afternoon
Speculation is mounting among Burmese political circles that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be released from house arrest this afternoon in Rangoon, a day before her 18-month sentence expires. According to Mizzima sources, a number of key supporters are waiting in the National League for Democracy headquarters office in the former capital this afternoon.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Mon party secures 15 parliamentary seats
Fifteen out of 34 All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMRDP) candidates have secured parliamentary seats in Sunday’s elections, party chairman Naing Ngwe Thein said. The state-run newspaper, New Light of Myanmar, announced today that 12 AMRDP candidates were elected as Members of Parliament. Naing Ngwe Thein said the state-run newspaper would announce the names of the remainder of his party’s winners soon. They are Soe Thein for the People’s Assembly seat of Kawkareik Township, Karen State; National Assembly candidate Myo Thin Lwin, also in Kawkareik; and Chit Oo, who won one of the seats set aside for ethnic minorities.

The AMRDP on Tuesday urged the Mon State electoral commission to clarify the contentious advance-voting system and demanded a recount for the States and Divisions Assembly seat of Kyaikmaraw Township. Naing Ngwe Thein was defeated by the Union Solidarity and Development Party’s Yin Chan in Kyaikmaraw constituency but the junta’s Union Election Commission has not announced details of other victors in the township’s constituencies.
NDF candidates demand recount over advance-vote offences
Two National Democratic Force (NDF) candidates have urged the Rangoon Division Election Commission to clarify contentious advanced and ghost votes and have demanded a recount. Tint Wai, a candidate in Tharkayta Township, filed a formal complaint yesterday alleging vote-rigging. Aung Myat Tun, who stood in Bahan Township, filed another complaint today, accusing the township’s electoral watchdog and the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) of coercing people to cast advance votes for the USDP. He said he won without the inclusion of advance votes and that a large number of those votes were accepted past the official deadline, which had led, he said, to his defeat. Tint Wai said he was defeated in the same way.
NUP seat tally hits 58 nationwide, spokesman says
The National Unity Party (NUP) bagged 58 parliamentary seats across the country, a party spokesman says. Thirteen NUP candidates won People’s Assembly seats; five, National Assembly seats; and 40, won States and Divisions Assembly seats. NUP, the second-largest party, fielded 980 candidates, while the Union Solidarity and Development Party, is the largest with 1,163 candidates.
Top court rejects Suu Kyi’s final appeal
Burma’s Supreme Court in Naypyidaw today rejected a final appeal by National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi against her house arrest, NLD legal adviser Aung Thein says, after receiving notice of the decision from Rangoon Central Court. The special appeal was heard by Chief Justice Aung Toe, Deputy Chief Justice Tun Tun Oo and Justice Kyaw Win on October 29. Party members nevertheless remained hopeful she would be released on Saturday when her current sentence ends, Aung Thein said.
Japanese reporter cancels briefing over security fears
The Asia Press Front office has said Japanese reporter Toru Yamaji – recently released after being detained by Burmese secret police while attempting to photograph a polling station with a button camera in Myawaddy – would cancel a press conference today at 1 p.m. in Mae Sot because of “security reasons”. He was arrested on Sunday and held for two days at a police station in the border town after illegally entering Burma, thereby breaking a ban on reporters entering the country ahead of the elections. He had crossed the Moei River from Thailand on a truck-tyre tube, in a manner similar to the method used by other migrants. After threats of a jail sentence of up to seven years, he was released because of the “deep friendship between the Burmese government and the Japanese Government”, a judge told him.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Six candidates in Pegu Division reject poll results
Five National Democratic Force (NDF) candidates and a Union Democratic Party (UDP) candidate, standing for the parliamentary seats in Pegu Division, filed a complaint yesterday with the junta’s electoral watchdog, the Union Election Commission (UEC). They refused to recognise the results of Sunday’s election as they considered the polls neither free nor fair. The UDP’s candidate Thein Htay had contested in Pegu Division National Assembly constituency No. 1. The NDF’s Nay Lin Aung, stood in Waw Township; Khin Zaw, in Thanatpin; San Kyaw, in Kawa; Aung Myo Win, in Pegu Township; and Aung Zaw Htut, aka Myat Moe, in Nyaunglebin.
RNDP wins 35 parliamentary seats
Thirty-five of a total 44 candidates of Rakhine National Development Party (RNDP) have won parliamentary seats in Sunday’s election, party chairman Dr. Aye Maung says. Eighteen of the 23 candidates vying for States and Divisions Assembly seats won; seven of eight who stood for National Assembly seats also succeeded; nine of 12 secured seats in the People’s Assembly and one candidate attained a seat set aside for ethnic minorities. Among the nearly 10 parties that stood for election in Arakan State, the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and National Unity Party (NUP) gained successes in townships of the state’s south and the RNDP prevailed in nine townships in its north. Mizzima tried in vain to contact the state office of the Union Election Commission.
All three hopefuls defeated from party with minimum candidates
Union Democratic Party (UDP) chairman Thein Htay said all three UDP candidates had failed to win parliamentary seats in their constituencies. Thein Htay, vice-chairman Htay and general secretary Thein Tin Aung stood for seats in Pegu Division National Assembly constituency No. 1, People’s Assembly for Hlaingtharyar Township constituency (Rangoon Division) and People’s Assembly for Tarmway Township constituency (Rangoon Division), respectively. USDP candidates were victors in all three, he said.

Tuesday, 09 November 2010

NUP loses Naypyidaw seats
National Unity Party (NUP) spokesman Han Shwe told Mizzima that NUP candidates for People’s Assembly and National Assembly had lost parliamentary seats in the Naypyidaw constituency. “According to our party reports from Mandalay Division, we lost in Naypyidaw, but official results are not yet available,” he said.

In the Naypyidaw District, political parties had to contest only two assemblies, the national and people’s. The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the National Political Alliances League, and two independent candidates stood for the seats. In reaction to political parties’ accusations of voter fraud against the junta-backed USDP, which one the seats, Han Shwe said, “We are still analysing … the reports delivered by our party members, so we aren’t able to say right now.”

Naypyidaw is administered under the Naypyidaw Union Territory, in accord with the 2008 constitution and comprises Pyinmana, Lewe, Tatkon, Zeyarthiri, Pobbathiri, Ottarathiri, Zabuthiri and Dekkhinathiri townships.
Anfrel calls for vote-counting
The Asian Network for Free Elections (Anfrel) has called for an investigation into the vote counting process of the Burma election. In a statement released today it demanded that the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, the junta’s name for itself) and its Union Election Commission (UEC) “urgently clarify” why the counting process was murky to the public and the media. It said that although the official advance-voting period was November 6-7, many votes were accepted outside of the official time frame. Advance voting taken or counted before the designated period is an illegal practice.

It said: “The counting of ballots, including ballots from advance voting and overseas voting, has raised many questions that demand an answer.”

Its many questions involve queries such as whether the advance ballots were mixed in with November 7 ballots during tabulation, and where the advance ballots were stored before tabulation. Anfrel called on the UEC to allow for a transparent counting process and thoroughly investigate all complaints about advance voting fraud or an opaque counting process, to ensure credibility. It also said that in areas where the total count of advance votes revealed irregularities or evidence of manipulation then a re-vote should be scheduled, and persons responsible for fraud should be held accountable.

“Anfrel respectfully but firmly requests that the UEC and the SPDC act now to save what little legitimacy the election has left by making the counting process more transparent, properly dealing with fraudulent advance votes, and, where necessary, holding a re-vote in all problematic constituencies to correct the flaws in the voting and counting process,” the statement said.
NDF cries foul over junta poll manipulation
The two largest pro-democracy parties are accusing the military junta of manipulating the election on Sunday, Reuters reported. "We took the lead at the beginning but the USDP [Union Solidarity and Development Party, led by the junta prime minister, Thein Sein] later came up with so-called advance votes and that changed the results completely, so we lost," Khin Maung Swe, leader of the National Democratic Force (NDF), the largest opposition party, told Reuters.

The NDF, which split from the Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi's now-dissolved National League for Democracy (NLD), said it had only won 16 seats in Rangoon and lost all other divisions, the Reuters report said. The Democratic Party (Myanmar) also conceded. Both accused the junta-backed USDP, closely aligned with junta leader Than Shwe, of widespread irregularities.

The comments came after a USDP official said his party expected to win as many as 80 per cent of seats in the national parliamentary elections. Agence France-Presse quoted the official as saying: "We have won about 80 per cent of the seats. We are glad."
Burmese refugees sheltering in a temporary camp in Mae Sot, Thailand

Monday, 08 November 2010
Obama chastises India over its silence on Burma abuses
United States President Barack Obama (right) addresses the Indian Parliament in New Delhi on Monday, November 8, 2010. While he backed India for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, recognising its rise as a great power in a victory for New Delhi’s foreign policy, he criticised the world’s largest democracy for its silence on the rights violations of the ruling Burmese junta. If democratic issues were suppressed, other democracies should speak out, he said. Meanwhile, activists from India urged India and the US to reject the results of Burma’s election the day before. Photo AFP

NUP’s Nay Lin bests USDP in Hlaingtharya
The National Unity Party candidate for the States and Divisions People’s Assembly constituency No. 2 in Hlaingtharya Township, Rangoon Division, has bested his only rival, Thein Aung, from the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), by more than 6,000 ballots, he told Mizzima late today. “I know only that I’ve won, but I don’t know exactly by how much as the [Union Election] Commission has not yet declared the numbers,” he said.
NDF’s Dr. Myat Nyarna Soe wins National Assembly seat
In the National Assembly constituency No. 4 of Rangoon division, Dr. Myat Nyarna Soe has claimed victory against main rival Takathoe (University) Myat Thu, he told Mizzima late today. Takathoe Myat Thu received 78,714 votes including 6,400 in advance, while Dr. Myat Nyarna Soe achieved 83,558, plus 2,900 in advance. Turnout was 60 per cent of the 400,000 eligible voters, he said. Third place went to Thiha Myint Aung from the National Unity Party who won almost 40,000 ballots, and Tint Nai from the Democratic Party (Myanmar) came forth. Tamway, Minglar Taungnyunt, Pazontaung, Botahtaung and Dawpon townships make up the constituency. “University” is a name acquired by a Burmese person who values higher learning.
Student front ‘to work with KNU and breakaway DKBA faction’
The All Burma Students’ Democratic Front is trying to co-operate with the breakaway faction of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army and the Karen National Union, the group’s chairman says.

"ABSDF has co-operated with Karen National Union Brigade 7. We are ready to co-operate with them [the DKBA faction]. We are ready to work together in politics and military affairs. Currently, we have discussed the matter in detail with the KNU and the breakaway [DKBA] faction’s commanding officers, who launched attacks against the junta in Myawaddy,” chairman Than Khe said.

"The armed conflicts in Myawaddy, which occurred a day after the junta’s elections, point out that the junta is in serious crisis. This is a strong challenge to the junta’s 2010 election. It also points out too that we cannot accept the 2008 constitution … The DKBA group’s military offensive is a strong response to the junta’s constitution and election. If the junta continues to obstinately hold on to power, Burma will be faced with many … mass uprisings and armed uprisings. The national crises prove that the 2008 constitution was highly controversial and the election was terribly unfair [and] … can’t solve the political and military crises,” Than Khe said.
USDP candidates take town in Sagaing Division
Junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) candidates have won seats in all three assembly seats for Chaungoo Township, Sagaing Division, the main participating opposition party, the National Democratic Force (NDF), has conceded. The NDF’s Nay Win, standing for the People’s Assembly seat, told Mizzima he was beaten by USDP’s Saw Hla Tun, in a loss of more than 10,000 votes. The latter won 22,252 votes and former received 9,991 votes. The NDF’s Kan Nyunt, vying for the National Assembly seat, was defeated by USDP candidate Kyaw Nyein, Nay Win said. The USDP also took the States and Divisions Assembly seat. About 40,000 of 60,000 eligible voters in the town took part yesterday, 15.4 per cent of whom submitted advance votes, and 88.9 per cent of those were cast for the USDP, he said.
Kraisak Choonhavan, president of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC), speaks on Burma’s elections
“I think there was a lot of wishful thinking, that perhaps the elections will change something, not much, but then something is better than nothing. But that hope, I think is dashed, completely. With the violence resuming, particularly in parts of Shan and Karen states, I think the AIPMC is expressing concern among Asean members that we now have thousands of people fleeing the fighting into Thailand, and this is the result of the elections, instead of counting the votes that were cast, we have violence.

“The Thais have chosen in the past what we call a ‘buffer state’ policy, in which the minorities were armed to protect themselves against Slorc (State Law and Order Restoration Council) and the SPDC, and there was a huge influx of people coming in. But when this policy gave way to importing huge [energy shipments] … and corporate interests, we saw resources pouring into Thailand … and the people at the same time were left unprotected and were forced to come into Thailand, by the millions. That is just what is happening now. I don’t think there will be a drastic change in Thai policy, except for the fact that, they will have to find space for these refugees. That area is very mountainous, and it’s very difficult to build another refugee camp in the area, even a temporary one … so that’s my major concern, where to put these thousands of people. Last time we had about 3,000, and it was quite difficult to handle them. Where are they going to stay?”
China calls Burma election a ‘step forward’
Chinese state English-language newspaper Global Times said that yesterday’s election “indicates a change in this military-ruled country”.

The editorial also advised that Western governments should adopt its approach regarding Burma and create a “friendlier external environment”, to coax the new government into opening up to outside advice and decrease its state of isolation. The paper, often accused of having a strong pro-government tone and of attracting a nationalist readership, said it was understandable for Burma, in its primary stage of political change, to be cautious, and called on the international community to change its attitude: “The West ought to take the initiative to dilute its enmity towards the country….Myanmar’s [Burma’s] neighbouring countries should hold their own views, not following the West blindly”.
Border run
A long line of Burmese hurry through Mae Sot after fleeing clashes in Myawaddy across the Thai-Burmese river border this morning, November 8, 2010. Fighting has broken out between a breakaway DKBA faction and government troops on the streets of Myawaddy and at Three Pagodas Pass, as Democratic Karen Buddhist Army troops fight for control of the town and cut off junta reinforcements. A Mizzima source says a police station is burning in the town and other buildings are being set alight.

Kitty McKinsey, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Asia, told Mizzima that the Thai army had informed her about 5,000 people had crossed the border at two locations, and that the army was transferring them to a border patrol base opposite Mae Sot airport.

She said the UN body and other NGOs were mobilising to assist the refugees, who had asked for food and water. She said (apparently quoting the Thai military) that they were being transferred because it was unsafe for them to stay near the border and that it was easier to look after them all when they were all in the same place. Video: Mizzima

Sunday, 07 November 2010
USDP wins 52 seats without rivals
Military government television announced at 8 p.m. that the party it backs, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, had won 52 seats in unchallenged constituencies. These seats included Laukkai, Namsam, Koankyan townships in Shan State and Myawaddy, and Tenasserim and Kyunsu townships in Tenasserim Division for the People’s Assembly, in which there were no other candidates standing. Section (41-a), chapter (9) of the election law says: “If there is only one candidate in any constituency, elections will not be held in that area and that person will be chosen as a member of parliament”.
Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand reports…
Bangkok (Mizzima) – Brief interview with Canadian ambassador Ron Hoffman to Burma (host of today’s FCCT event).

"Current sanctions are adequate; Canada takes a firm line already on the issue, but is open to the situation changing over time dependent on political developments that may or may not come out of the election.”

"Setting specific guidelines for development would be artificial and counterproductive.”

In particular, Hoffman thought that Canada had adequately reviewed the situation regarding Myanmar Ivanhoe Copper Company Limited and determined that it was working with the Canadian laws relevant to the sanctions.

As with his British counterpart Andrew Heyns, Hoffman indicated that the international community should remain open to both of the “two tracks” being taken by the Burmese democratic opposition without prejudging them: first, the boycotts, and second, critical participation within the new government.

Hoffman placed great emphasis on humanitarian aid and in particular on programmes that developed cultural connections with outside nations, such as the Internet, and those that empower the Burmese people, providing at least some hope that critical participation might work.
Pyigyitagun Township, Mandalay voter turnout runs to 85 per cent
About 85 per cent of eligible voters in Pyigyitagun Township, Mandalay, voted today, said Aung Khine, the National Democratic Force (NDF) candidate for the People’s Assembly seat. “I visited to every polling station in Pyigyitagun this afternoon … about 1,700 of the 1,900 eligible voters had come to vote, accounts for about 85 per cent of eligible voters,” he said, adding that voters were able to cast their votes by secret ballot and the voting process was relatively free from interference.

Union Solidarity and Development Party candidate Maung Ko, National Unity Party candidate Maung Soe, Wunthanu NLD (Union of Myanmar) candidate Dr. Than Htike Oo and 88 Generation Student Youths (Union of Myanmar) candidate Myint Khine, also stood for the seat.
Shan Nationals Democratic Party win Muse (5) in Shan State
The Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, aka White Tiger Party, candidate Sai Phone Myat has won a seat in the Muse constituency No. (5) and a seat in the National Assembly, according to a spokesman from SNDP headquarters in Rangoon.The official told Mizzima he had gathered 700 votes and that the Union Solidarity and Development Party had received 59.
NDF candidates confident of victory in Lanmadaw
Although votes were still being counted at the 21 polling stations of Rangoon's Lanmadaw Township, Khin Maung Win, the National Democratic Force (NDF) candidate for the People’s Assembly seat, and Dr. Tin Shwe, the NDF candidate for the National Assembly seat, are likely to win at all polling stations except in Ward No. 9, Khin Maung Win told Mizzima. Turnout was high in the constituency, with 60 to 80 per cent of eligible voters taking part, Khin Maung Win said. The number of advance votes was insubstantial, so we [the two NDF candidates] were likely to win, Khin Maung Win added.
Voters from Mandalay Division cast ballots freely
Citizens were able to cast their votes in relative freedom in Chanmyathazi and Maharaungmyay townships, Mandalay Division, while just a few security guards were stationed around the polling sites, voters said. "Eight security guards were seen at around this voting station. But it could be different in other areas. I found that I could vote freely.” a resident from Chanmyathazi told Mizzima. He said he saw about 50 voters in a polling station near Kywesegan bus station and there was poor turnout at around noon. midday. In Chanmyathazi, the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party and National Unity Party, the National Democratic Force (NDF) and 88 Generation Student Youth (Union of Myanmar) all submitted candidates for the seat in the People’s Assembly.

The same parties were running in nearby Mahaungmyay Township, where another voter told Mizzima that he was able to cast his vote freely. "I saw four police officers at the polling station., which was scheduled to close at 6 p.m. Voters have come and gone freely, and I was able to cast my vote in secret. My neighbours told me that they cast votes for the NDF and the Democratic Party,” he said.

Police guard a checkpoint during election day on Sule Pagoda Road, Rangoon. Reports have been varied on levels of security around polling stations. Photo: Mizzima

Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand reports …
Bangkok (Mizzima) – Phone interview with Win Tin, a senior leader of National League for Democracy (NLD) leader.

Q: If the NDF (National Democratic Force) has candidates elected, will the NLD support them?

A: Well, we have no idea about this, of any party, NDF or what … if they do [well], it is a lot of their pretending that they belong to the NLD … many people are voting for them to protest against the USDP, but I do not think they [the NDF] will get many candidates [voted]. Clearly there are irregularities.

Q: Do you think [NLD leader] Aung San Suu Kyi will be released on Saturday (November 13)?

A: I think so … we can’t really tell you what the date will be … she should be released on that date, it is the last day of that sentence.”

Q: Would the NLD rethink sanctions if Suu Kyi were released? In what ways do these sanctions affect the government and the people?

A: She is ready to consider the economic sanctions … but the first thing is what effect they would have on the people. Tourism that is smaller, culturally sensitive is good. The NLD will continue with its efforts to be legalised, and continue no matter what with its political aims: To oppose the current constitution and to develop a democratic alternative to the junta.
Voters walk to a polling station in Dagon Township, Rangoon today. Photo: Mizzima

Cartoonist Aw Pi Kye shares voting experience
Apk-cartoon“I cast my vote early at 7 this morning, the sooner the better. There was no one at the polling station at that time so I didn’t need to stand in a queue.

“Many people have said that they know all the good and the bad things about the USDP [military-backed party linked to Than Shwe] and the NUP [military backed party linked to Ne Win] but they don’t know about the other parties. For me, I know about them because of short-wave radio.

“Many voters brushed aside the parties they do not like. But there’s no other party they like either because they have no information about them. For many they first learn about the other parties only at the polling station.

“When the constitutional referendum was conducted [in 2008], there was only one polling station in each ward. Now there are four polling stations in my neighbourhood alone. I have no idea why they divided so many polling stations this time, though the population is almost the same. Now our locality is dotted with numerous polling stations.”
Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand reports…
Bangkok (Mizzima) – Brief interview with FCCT president Marwaan Macan-Markar, of Inter Press Service.

Could you comment on the difficulties of reporting on Burma?

“In any election one would expect a country to permit journalists to observe and report on what occurs on election day. The fact that the Burmese Government had placed barriers on foreign journalists in covering the election raises questions on the fairness and transparency of this election process. Foreign journalists have not been granted visas, and have had to go in on tourist visas. I understand that two or three foreign journalists who have gone in as tourists have been thrown out of the country.”
Ex-actor predicts brawls over vote counting
kyaw-thuFormer actor and founder of the Free Funeral Services Society Kyaw Thu said: "There may be hand-to-hand fighting" when votes are counted.

"We are very busy with our social services so we can't go to the polling station. We have to provide services for about 50 corpses daily. If we had no work to do, we would vote,” he said. “The city is relatively inactive. There is very little traffic today. I think something strange will happen this evening. When the vote counting is conducted, there may be hand-to-hand fighting."
Poor turnout in polling stations of Hlaing Township, Rangoon
Voter turnout was low in Hlaing Township, Rangoon Division, a housewife from Quarter No. 13 told Mizzima. “At our neighbourhood polling station, which is a middle school, there were a small group of police standing guard. Local authorities were also present at the station, but there were only a few voters. I’ve decided not to vote. At 8 a.m. this morning, I went for a walk around Inya Lake and I noticed poor turnout at a number of polling stations. All shops had to remain closed today. It’s very boring. There was also no sign of parties’ polling agents out on the streets. Even at 10:30 there was little activity in our township,” she told Mizzima.
Mizzima exposes false rumour: DKBA splinter group has not seized government buildings in Myawaddy
Reports that the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) Brigade 5 led by Colonel Saw Lah Pwe had seized strategic locations in Myawaddy near the Thai-Burmese border were false, a security official of Thailand told Mizzima today. Mizzima contacted commanding officers from the group, which has rejected the junta’s Border Guard Force (BGF) plan, who confirmed that the rumour was false. Residents and members of the Karen National Union also said the rumours were groundless.

Meanwhile, Bangkok Post has quoted Thai security officials as saying that an explosion occurred on Saturday at a military base about 8 miles (14 kilometres) from Myawaddy.
Foreign Correspondents’ Club reports
Bangkok (Mizzima) – Twenty diplomats led by the North Korean ambassador have been allowed to monitor election in Mandalay.
Overheard at FCCT: 'This election is a joke, right! Do the party representatives understand this?'
Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Bangkok (Mizzima) – Somsri Hananuntasuk of Thai organisation Asian Network for Free Elections (Anfrel) provides an update on polling. Opposition parties are not being allowed to monitor voting, she says. Voting has already finished through absentee voting on previous days in many areas of Burma. Some polling stations closed at 10 a.m. Also raised questions over the validity of election and whether ballot papers would add up to what were issued in the morning?
Officials look over voters’ shoulders at Kyimyindine polling station
A sense of insecurity developed among voters in Kyimyindine township polling booths, Peace and Diversity party candidate in the constituency, Aung Myo Oo said. “As far as I know, there must be a separate place for voting. But now it is mixed with other desks like kiosks in an internet café. The polling booth officials … are sitting near the voters while they are voting … So there is no security for them. I think this is deliberate … This is not a secret ballot. This insecurity means the voters are afraid of possibly being watched from behind and have doubts over the privacy of their ballot. It’s not good if the voter feels insecure at a polling station. They might think they will be in trouble unless they vote for the USDP,” Aung Myo Oo said.

In Aung Myo Oo’s polling station in Makyitantaung West ward, there are 2,068 eligible voters, he said. There are a total of 45 polling stations in Kyimyindine, and some sub-polling stations.

On Friday night, a polling station official forced an absentee voter at Makyimyauk East Ward by pointing his finger towards the USDP party logo and candidate. “He didn’t say anything but his gesture meant he was forcing the voter to vote for the USDP. This is forced voting using body language,” Aung Myo Oo said.

Voter turnout has been sporadic and one or two policemen and polling station officials are deployed at each station.
Voting starts on time in Chin State capital
Local residents from Hakha, the capital of Chin State, joined in casting their votes at 6 a.m., a resident said. “I voted at around 7:30 a.m. … for the Union Solidarity and Development Party. I think it’s good for our future. I’ve read the constitution. I feel that we should approach democracy slowly and steadily. At the polling station, we could cast our votes freely … there weren’t many people but I think there’ll be a lot of voters in the polling station by now. There are police guards posted at the entrance,” she said.
Voter turnout high, voting ‘free and fair’, Falam official claims
Voters were able to cast their votes freely, and in the presence of party monitors in Sinmoi ward, Falam Township, Chin State, a local polling station official told Mizzima. “I voted for Chin Progressive Party (CPP) at about 9 a.m. this morning. The voter turnout is high … [and] more than 400 voters have cast their votes this morning. They can cast their votes freely. The security cordon is manned by us … along with some firemen. The security is not very tight. About 40 people including election commission members, polling station directors, agents and security persons are deployed at the polling station. We can’t say yet which party candidate has got the most votes. A lot of voters came … before going to church … now numbers have dropped … agents from all parties are present at the polling station witnessing the polling process. But I didn’t see the candidates at my station,” the official said. The Chin National Party, National Unity Party and Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) are also standing for election in Falam constituency.
12:05 p.m.
Bangkok (Mizzima) – The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand phoned Democratic Party (Myanmar) chairman Thu Wai just after noon today. He said at 12:05 p.m. one-third of the vote had been counted already and that there had been widespread reports of harassment. "People were stopped over the past few days on the streets and bullied into pre-voting.” When asked whether, if harassment continued, his party would refuse to recognise the election results, or protest against them, he indicated there would be a protest filed, but failed to respond directly to the issue of recognition.

Security lax at polling station in western port Sittwe
No security guards were present at the Mawlake Ward polling station in Sittwe, the capital of Arakan State, this morning as many voters filed in to exercise their democratic right, a resident said. Many people have gone to the polling station, which has been open since 6 a.m. but there was no security guards and I did not see party polling agents [monitors]. There were many voters but I have not voted,” the resident said.

Bangkok (Mizzima) -- The mood at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand is one of amiable scepticism mixed with uncertainty – the lack of hard background information and the absence of inside contacts with Burmese government figures leave even those who would normally be “in the know” a bit in the dark. No one is willing to climb out on any limbs, and everyone is genial enough not to push anyone else out too far. “Just HOW rigged?” would seem to be the question for these elections; will the result leave some wiggle room for those who presently favour stern sanctions? And what good have those sanctions accomplished thus far? The polls close early in Burma, but what will they show? Attendees are holding their cards close to their chests.

Party polling station monitors denied note-taking
Ward-level election commissions have banned party members from carrying pens and notebooks, countermanding permission received from township-level commissioners, National Unity Party candidate in Irrawaddy Division for Amyotha Hluttaw (upper house), Mahn Htein Win Sein, told Mizzima this morning. “The commission earlier allowed eight agents at each polling station. They were given a ball pen and a notebook each. But today they’re not allowed to bring these … with them. I objected but they didn’t listen. I told them these were allowed by Pantanaw Township election commission … We are still arguing with them … We shall lodge a complaint with the Union Election Commission [central electoral body],” he said.

A senior voter inserts a ballot at a polling booth this morning (November 7) in Constituency No 1 in Dagon Township, Rangoon, as Burma holds its first elections in 20 years. Photo: Mizzima.

Booth staff are failing to check voters' ID in Mayangone, official says
Poll officers from polling station No. (4) in Mayangone Township, Rangoon Division, were not checking voters' personal ID cards, a government official told Mizzima. "Currently, there are more than 100 voters in the polling station. The poll staff did not check their ID cards ... so how do they know whether the voters are real eligible voters or not?”, the official said. “They gave the voters numbered tickets. Everyone who had the tickets could vote. So it’s not systematic. They arranged everything carelessly.” He expressed concern over potential voter fraud as a result.

Saturday, 06 November 2010

PDP pulls broadcasts after electoral watchdog cuts texts
The Peace and Diversity Party has cancelled its planned television and radio campaign after the Union Election Commission (UEC) told it some of the scripts were heavily censored, the party’s general secretary said. “All the censored portions made up the main core of the party’s political policies and some changes we want to see across all sectors of the country,” Nay Myo Wai said. The PDP was hoping to introduce an open-voting system for drafting bills in future parliaments, he said, adding that the commission gave no reasons for the cuts.
Advance voting fraud emerges in Kachin State capital
Evidence of fraud emerged in advance voting held in Du Kahtawng ward, Myitkyina Township, Kachin State, on Friday; National Unity Party (NUP) candidate La Nang Bawk said.

About 50 voters had to cast advance votes, but not by secret ballot. A Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) canvasser ticked to right side of USDP’s logo on ballot papers, on behalf of the voters, and in the presence of many witnesses, La Nang Bawk told Mizzima after registering a complaint with the township branch of the Union Election Commission.

The allegedly dishonest USDP canvasser was Dai Hu and Kahtawng ward electoral commission chairman, Jang Ma Thoi Wa.
Anti-poll graffiti sprayed at Mandalay anti-junta village train station
Graffiti that included several crosses and words was last Saturday sprayed on the wall of Sinthaykan railway station near Kyaukpadaung in Mandalay Division, in opposition to the military junta’s election on Sunday, a freelance video reporter told Mizzima today. The inscription “ABFSU” may implicate the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, a pro-democracy umbrella group.

The village is on the rim of a two-mile-radius (3.2km) no-man’s-land around the site of the underground military installation at Pyinkadot Mountain, the staff of which reportedly includes five North Korean military engineer “trainers”, responsible for constructing its network of tunnels.

Sinthaykan village has about 200 families, nearly all of whom participated in the “8888” pro-democracy uprising. Its people have a reputation for being hard-core anti-junta activists and their antipathy is unaided by the junta providing CDMA mobile phone services to every village in the area except theirs. The lack of the service might also stem from its anti-junta attitude.

Sinthaykan village in Kyaukpadaung boycotts election

Friday, 05 November 2010

Prisoners set to be released on Monday
On word that prisoners would soon be released, a crowd of reporters gathered around Insein Prison in Rangoon this morning, but their hope was in vain, a reporter, who awaited the prisoners’ release until 2:30 p.m., told Mizzima.

The prisoners would be released on Monday, he quoted prison staff as saying.
Rangoon candidate concerned over exclusion of polling agents
Union Democractic Party (UDP) general secretary Thein Tin Aung expressed concern that party polling agents were excluded from advance voting.

“I’m worried that some authorities may coerce voters to cast advance votes for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). But we have no control. Without polling agents to monitor the advance-voting processes, we can’t know whether irregularities have taken place and we can’t complain to the electoral commissions. Just our luck!”, Thein Tin Aung said.

Although 199 such agents were needed to monitor his constituency on election day, there were only 15 available, the UDP candidate for the People’s Assembly seat of Tarmway Township said.

“I want to urge people to monitor the election processes for the sake of the truth. The obstacles are time and a shortage of party members to appoint as polling agents. Also, the people live in fear and some feel reluctant even to vote. To be polling agents, they must give their photos and personal details to the authorities so they don’t want to serve in that role,” he added.
Protests in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka
More than 30 Burmese activists in Dhaka led by the Rakhine Women’s Union protested against Burma’s upcoming election in front of the Burmese embassy and the Bangladeshi Supreme Court today.
Bogale police voters had to hand ballots to commanders
Police officers in Bogale Township, Irrawaddy Division, have been ordered to submit advance votes to their superior officers, Peace and Diversity Party candidate Sandar Oo said. “They cast the votes but not by secret ballot. They had to hand their ballots to their superior officers,” Sandar Oo said.

She said advance voting should only be for people who were unable to visit polling stations on election day, but in her constituency, everyone was allowed to vote in advance. She added that she would register a complaint with the township branch of the Union Election Commission.
Activists from Arakan State in Bangladeshi rage against polls
Arakanese activists in Dhaka, Bangladesh, protest against the Burmese junta’s election in front of Burma's embassy on Friday, November 5, 2010.

“We don’t want the 2010 election. We believe that the junta should open serious political dialogue to overcome the current national crisis,” Rakhine Women’s Union chairwoman Saw Mra Raza Linn said.
Chin State advance voting winds down
Advance voting in Chin State ended this morning after being held for a week, a resident said. “Poll officers said the advance voting would end this morning but I don’t know the exact time. Government employees and people who will be travelling on polling day have cast their votes in advance at polling stations. The advance voting is rather free,” the resident said.

Advance voting was also conducted in Falam, Teetain and Mindat townships. In Falam, authorities also held mock voting sessions to educate voters.
Burmese pro-democracy activists protest against the junta’s elections, to be held in two days' time, in front of Burma's embassy to Thailand in Bangkok at 11 a.m. today. Some were carrying with the National League for Democracy party flag and pictures of detained Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who led the now-defunct party to victory in Burma's last elections 20 years ago. Photo: Mizzima Burmese pro-democracy activists protest against the junta’s elections, to be held in two days' time, in front of Burma's embassy to Thailand in Bangkok at 11 a.m. today. Some were carrying with the National League for Democracy party flag and pictures of detained Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who led the now-defunct party to victory in Burma's last elections 20 years ago. Photo: Mizzima
NDF scores in Kachin State mock vote, USDP trounced
In mock voting conducted by junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in Kamaing Township, Kachin State, people cast votes overwhelmingly for the opposition party, National Democratic Force (NDF). “NDF won a lot of votes … but the USDP got just two,” a participant said.

The result apparently frustrated USDP leaders in the town. Party members disturbed NDF canvassing and in some constituencies, removed NDF party signboards, said NDF candidate Bawk Jar, a land rights organiser who led farmers to sue controversial junta crony company Yuzana over its land grabs.

In Hpakant Township, the electoral roll remains yet to be published.
Reporters gather at Insein on tip of prisoners’ release
On word that prisoners would soon be released, a crowd of reporters gathered around Insein Prison in Rangoon this morning and two were allowed in to observe the process, a witness who lives near the prison said. “The prison informed some media organisations that prisoners would be released, which is why they have gathered,” the witness said.

Reports gave no details on whether the inmates had been jailed for political or other reasons.

Friday, 04 November 2010

Last Updated ( Sunday, 28 November 2010 00:06 )  

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