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Beijing hopes elections run smoothly, Chinese foreign ministry says
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told Xinhua News Agency that Beijing hoped the scheduled multiparty general election in Burma runs well and that maintenance of Burma’s internal social stability and “successful polls” on Sunday would serve the fundamental interests of Burmese people, along with the region’s peace and prosperity. “We hope the election runs smoothly and that Myanmar [Burma] will constantly promote democracy and development,” Xinhua quoted Hong Lei as saying.
Voters in Shan State have little information about the election

Authorities tighten security across Mandalay
Just three days ahead of the general election, police have stepped up security with patrols across the entire city of Mandalay, residents say.

Cybercafé employee
“I felt uneasy when I returned to my home. I have to work until 11 p.m. and have to pick up my sister at about midnight every night. Police are patrolling the roads around Mandalay University and the moat. Police cars and motorcycles are patrolling across the town. I saw police armed with sticks on 73rd Street, 26th Street and 66th Street … I don’t know whether they were armed with guns because they were in police cars. Groups of police motorcycles comprising at most eight bikes patrolled and I saw many police cars beside the moat.”

Medical student
“Shops have to close at about 11 p.m. There are police guards posted in crowded places such as markets and tea shops. At least two police are posted at traffic lights. Police are regularly patrolling across the city at night. I saw a police car in my friend’s street and many police on 68th and 35th Streets. Some police were in Hilux pick-up trucks and some were on motorbikes.”

Wunthanu NLD (Union of Myanmar) general secretary Nan Shwe Kya
“I saw police cars patrolling the city at night but I’ve not faced any danger during my canvassing for votes. I also saw patrol cars beside the moat at night.
Meeting over second Panglong conference fruitful, NLD says
National League for Democracy’s campaign tour of eastern Shan State to discuss convening a second Panglong conference for national reconciliation ended successfully today, a senior party member says.

A meeting with ethnic political parties organised by NLD central executive committee member Ohn Kyaing and Committee Representing the People’s Parliament (CRPP) secretary Aye Tha Aung was held from October 25 to November 4 to discuss reconvening the Panglong conference.

"Our tour was very fruitful. We agreed to co-operate in trying to achieve our common goal and to help each other,” Ohn Kyaing said. “We’ve already accepted the federal system. We went to meet ethnic leaders for the sake of the country. I think we have achieved 75 per cent of our objective.”

NLD members from Tachileik, Kengtung, Taunggyi, Mong Hpayak, Namhsan, Loilen, Mong Ping and Shwenyaung townships also attended.

The Panglong Agreement was a deal reached between the Burmese government under Aung San and the Shan, Kachin and Chin peoples on February 12, 1947, which accepted in principle “full autonomy in internal administration for the frontier areas” and envisioned the creation of a Kachin State by the Constituent Assembly (Burma’s first post-independence parliament.) The deal came almost a year after the First Panglong Conference was held in the town of that name in the south of Shan State.
What are local media allowed to do during the election?
"We are not allowed to take photos and videos at polling stations. But we can take [them] … in their compounds … so from outside … we can take photos and videos … We can take pictures of polling officers issuing ballot papers, people signing lists of eligible voters, casting votes and counting votes. But nothing we do can disturb the voters,” Burma’s Writers’ and Journalists’ Association general secretary Ko Ko, who is also Rangoon Media’s executive director, told the BBC’s Burmese service.

Wednesday, 03 November 2010

Giri caused US$18m damage to western Burma: UN
The Category Four storm that hit the west coast of Burma late last month designated Cyclone Giri has caused at least 18 billion kyat (about US$18 million) in damage, UN officials in Rangoon said in a statement, citing a junta report.

Giri slammed into several townships across Arakan State, including Myebon, Kyaukphyu, Pauktaw and Minbya, killing at least 45 residents and injuring 49, with 10 still missing. More than 70,000 people have lost their homes and as many as 400,000 were affected. Several villagers have died of cholera in its wake.

The United States donated US$100,000 and Britain, US$750,000 towards relief efforts, the UN said.
NUP candidate dies after stroke
Win Swe, the National Unity Party (NUP) candidate for the National

Assembly seat of Dedaye Township, Irrawaddy Division, died in his 60s a week ago after suffering a stroke, a local temple trustee told Mizzima.

“I had a nice chat with him over a cup of tea four days before he became ill. He died two days after his stroke,” Htay Lwin said. Three political parties including the NUP and the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) will contest the seat in the upcoming election.

As many as 1,134 USDP candidates will run for seats across all three assemblies, placing it in the lead for numbers of candidates. The National Unity Party is second with 980.
USDP pays villagers in cash and T-shirts in bid for advance votes
"The peace and development council of our ward gave us ballot papers. They [Its members] also handed out paper flags bearing the USDP logo. They told us to cast our votes in advance [for the party] but I refused,” a Kyaukpadaung resident told Mizzima.

Junta-backed USDP candidates – Rail Transport Minister Aung Min and Finance and Revenue Minister Hla Tun – are standing in Kyaukpadaung Township, Mandalay Division, against the National Unity Party’s (NUP) Ye Maung and Hla Ko.

The USDP invited villagers to the local party office for a meeting and gave four T-shirts bearing Hla Tun portraits and 20,000 kyat (about US$20) to each of them, the resident said. No attendance figures were available.
No voting in six townships, local poll watchdog says
The local branch of the junta’s electoral watchdog, the Union Election Commission (UEC) in Loikaw Township, Karenni State, had known since October 13 that the election would be abortive in some townships in the state, according to a commission official.

The junta-controlled body suspected candidates close to the junta would fail to achieve favourable results also in Demawso, Shadaw, Dosone, Bawlakha and Hpasawng townships, the official said, on condition of anonymity. Therefore there no polling was to be held in those centres, he revealed.

The Burmese Army had imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Loikaw since Sunday, suspected to be part of the army’s response to Karenni Army attacks on two outposts last month that killed several Burmese troops.
Third of Thandway’s eligible voters missing from roll: Kaman candidate
About a third of qualified voters in Thandway Township, Arakan State have been omitted from the list of eligible constituents published by village electoral commissions, according to Tin Win Hlaing, Kaman National Progressive Party secretary and candidate for the People’s Assembly seat of Thandway.

“For example, in Zaidipyin and Kyaungtike villages … although about 300 people are qualified to cast their votes, there are only 200 eligible voters in the lists drawn up by villages’ commissions,” Tin Win Hlaing added.

There are more than 80,000 eligible voters in the town.

Also, some of the commissions had failed to publish electoral rolls altogether, in direct breach of the junta’s election laws. Although the problems were reported to the commissions, the pleas were ignored, he said.
NLD poll-boycott activist held, junta ‘thugs’ seize camera, pamphlets
An activist was detained this morning while junta militia seized his camera and pamphlets urging a public boycott of the elections on Sunday.

National League for Democracy (NLD) member Aye Thwin was arrested by South Dagon Township police and junta-backed strongmen made the seizures. He was later released. “When I got on the bus, my camera was snatched by members of Swan Arr Shin [a militia-like group organised by the junta] and USDA members,” he said.
Armed ethnic groups form alliance
Six major armed ethnic opposition groups have reached a landmark deal to join forces against the Burmese Army at a meeting yesterday in Mae Hong Son in neighbouring Thailand.

Alliance members are the Karen National Union, Karenni National Progressive Party, Chin National Front, Kachin Independence Organisation, New Mon State Party and the Shan State Army-North. Most come from areas the junta has sidelined from participation in national elections on Sunday.
Wa National Unity Party to join opposition if USDP wins
“If the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is able to form a majority government, the Wa National Unity Party (WNUP) will not co-operate,” a party spokesman says. “Whether they win or not, we will not form a coalition with the USDP. We will remain loyal to our party’s platform. When USDP leaders came to Lashio, we stood in opposition,” WNUP patron Phillip Sam added.

He was responding to remarks yesterday by USDP leader Prime Minister Thein Sein that the USDP would consider leading a coalition government.

Tuesday, 02 November 2010

If USDP wins, NDF will stand in opposition
If the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is able to form a majority government, the National Democratic Force (NDF) party will stand as the opposition, NDF leader Thein Nyunt says.

He was responding to remarks by USDP leader Prime Minister Thein Sein that the latter’s party would consider leading a coalition government.

"Whoever drafts legislation in parliament that can harm people, we will oppose them. There will be 664 MPs in the People’s Assembly. If the pro-democracy parties win about 130 seats, we can submit a motion to amend the controversial 2008 constitution,” Thein Nyunt added.
Prayer ceremony held for Aung San Suu Kyi
The Tuesday Prayer Group of past and present members of the National League for Democracy party women’s wing and others held a ceremony to pray for the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners this morning. Poems were also recited at the home of Nyein Tin in Shwepyithar Township, Rangoon Division, and 150 members attended. It finished at 10 a.m.
Authorities impose curfew on Karenni town
The Burmese Army imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the town of Loikaw in Karenni State on Sunday in a response suspected to be founded in attacks by Karenni rebels on military outposts near the town last month.

Phe Bu, director of the Karenni Social Welfare and Development Committee, told Mizzima on Sunday that “people are not allowed to leave home from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and villagers face difficulties going out to work their paddy”.

Internet cafes however were permitted to stay open until 8:30 p.m., instead of the usual closing time of 11 p.m., he said.

"The curfew might be related to two reasons; the election getting closer and the clash between the Karenni and Burmese troops on October 26 … no one knows how long the curfew will last,” he said.
If poll is abortive, regime will endure, state mouthpiece columnist says
In the event the junta fails to achieve the results it desires, it will continue to rule the country, New Light of Myanmar columnist Myo Myat Maung says in an article published in the state-run newspaper yesterday.

“If the election is abortive, there will not be a government that is elected by the … people. Then, the ruling government has no choice but to continue with its state responsibilities until it holds another election,” Myo Myat Maung wrote in his article titled “Let’s vote for reliable candidates”.

“What is the purpose of movements launched by certain foreign media and some organisations that are no longer legal political parties to dissuade the people from voting for a particular party and from casting votes,” he mused.
Chin electoral watchdog contradicts town branch on campaign deadline
The Chin State electoral commission and its Hakha Township branch have each provided clashing information regarding the election campaign cut-off date, the Chin National Party revealed today.

Last week, the CNP stopped campaigning in Hakha after the local township commission had sent them a notice stipulating October 30 as the final day for canvassing. Its candidate for the People’s Assembly seat of Hakha said that when the party had later asked the state electoral commission to confirm the final day for canvassing in the town they were told that it was in fact November 6, one day before the election.

"The Chin State electoral commission chairman said October 30 was just the last day to conduct TV canvassing for votes and that we could conduct normal canvassing … until November 6,” the candidate said. The party has resumed door-to-door canvassing in Hakha.
Independent watchdog rates Mizzima’s balance in poll coverage
Memo 98, which has been monitoring coverage of Burma’s forthcoming election, has ranked Mizzima high for neutrality balance in its reportage, a study released by the independent media watchdog on October 15 shows.

"Mizzima provided 23.3 per cent of its political and election-related coverage to the UEC [Union Election Commission]. This coverage was exclusively neutral in tone. The next most-covered subject was the USDP, which received 17.4 per cent of mainly negative and neutral coverage,” the report said.

"As for coverage of individuals, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi received 39.4 per cent exclusively neutral coverage followed by Than Shwe, who received 19.1 per cent of mainly neutral coverage,” the watchdog added.
Arakan State poll watchdog cuts campaigns five days short
The junta electoral watchdog branch office in Arakan State has ended political parties’ canvassing rights five days early, party spokesmen say.

"When we went to the Arakan State electoral commission to apply for canvassing rights on October 30 [Saturday], the commission told us that the last day for canvassing was October 31,” a spokesman from the junta-supported National Unity Party in Sittwe, Arakan State, told Mizzima.

Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) chairman Dr. Aye Maung said: "The … commission gave us the [same] order verbally … On the other hand, the parties in mainland [states and divisions] can conduct canvassing until November 6,” the day before the election.

In the same state, Kyauktaw Township electoral commission wrote to political parties saying that the last date for canvassing was October 30, Myint Zaw, a Rakhine State National Force of Myanmar candidate for the National Assembly, told Mizzima.
Tarmway USDP candidate ejects reporters from foreign agencies
Burmese journalists with foreign agencies were told to hit the road when Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) Lei Lei Win Swe stopped in front of a market during her canvassing rounds in Tarmway Township, Rangoon Division, on Saturday, a witness said.

The candidate for the People’s Assembly seat of Tarmway picked out

Agence France-Presse reporter Khin Maung Win and Tokyo Broadcasting System reporter Thitsa Hla Htway from the press corps, warned them off taking pictures and, with the help of party members, forced them to leave the area in front of Kyaukmyaung Market.

"The reporters were surrounded by party members asking who they were. They showed their reporters’ ID cards but Lei Lei Win Swe refused to let them take any pictures. One of the reporters’ told her that the public was very interested in electoral news and that he had taken photos of other USDP and other parties’ candidates. He said USDP general secretary Htay Oo had already allowed him to take photos of USDP candidates and party headquarters,” the witness, also a Burmese reporter, told Mizzima. “But Lei Lei Win Swe rejected his argument and told the reporters to leave.”

The pair later negotiated with her and were permitted to take some snaps, but the reporters walked off without doing so, the reporter said.
Vote won’t lead to social reform for women, activists say
"The election is based on the ‘2008’ constitution so it will not lead to social reform expanding women’s rights. It’s just a rigged election [for the junta] to continue to hold on to power,” Women’s League of Burma leader Tin Tin Nyo told the press last night at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Bangkok, Thailand. Anti-landmine activist and Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams and Burma Soldier director Nic Dunlop also participated in the panel discussion titled “Bringing Change to the Women of Burma”.
RNDP urges electoral watchdog to put off polls in storm-hit west
The Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) asked the Union Election Commission via fast-mail service last Wednesday to postpone the election by a month in towns devastated by Cyclone Giri, but has yet to receive a response, party chairman Dr. Aye Maung says.

Giri severely hit Myebon, Kyaukphyu, Minbya and Pauktaw townships in western Arakan (Rakhine) State on October 22, with winds of at least 100 miles per hour (160 kilometres). More than 400,000 people were affected and more than 15,000 houses destroyed, according to aid groups.

The party’s rivals in worst-hit Myebon and Kyaukphyu are the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development and National Unity parties.
USDP leader explains party origins and 'destiny'
Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) leader Prime Minister Thein Sein touched on his party's past and told its fortune for candidates at a short-term training course in Naypyidaw in September, calling the USDP's future of political dominance a "real necessity" for the country.

"The reason we transformed the Union Solidarity and Development Association into the Union Solidarity and Development Party was to contest in the forthcoming election [which we see] as a real necessity for the country. So we will contest in all constituencies across the country and try to win as many parliamentary seats as possible in all the assemblies, within the legal framework. Then we will form a government comprising our MPs who will win the majority of those parliamentary seats. Following that, we will take over power from the military government and accelerate the development of the country. This is our party’s short-term objective.”

Monday, 01 November 2010

Keep pressure on junta for dialogue, student resistance group urges
Serious political dialogue between the junta and the opposition is impossible without putting the regime under relentless pressure, the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) said in a statement today.

Political dialogue and national reconciliation are just a two methods to solve the problem, not an overall strategy, and to engage in a political dialogue with the junta, the opposition needed to put the it under continued pressure, the ABSDF said on the 22nd anniversary of its founding. The armed group of resistance against the military dictatorship was formed by Burmese students who fled to the Thai-Burmese border after the “8888” nationwide pro-democracy uprisings were brutally suppressed.
Advance voting
The junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is under intense criticism over its attempts to secure votes in advance of the nationwide elections on Sunday, according to residents and a political party campaigning in Insein Township, Rangoon Division. The 88 Generation Student Youths (Union of Myanmar) told Mizzima that what the USDP was doing in the township was a breach of the junta's own electoral laws.
Six decades separate the youngest from the oldest candidates in Burma's 2010 election.

Retired army colonel Tun Sein, the National Democratic Force party candidate for Sintgaing constituency, Mandalay Division, is 86, and Si Thu Aung, the 88-Generation Students and Youth Organisation (Union of Myanmar) candidate for the People’s Assembly seat of Chanmyatharzi Township, Mandalay, is 26.
A dispute is raging between two "land-grabbing" junta ministers and 28 farmers in one of the Burmese capital territory's eight townships, the farmers have told Mizzima.

Rail Transport Minister Aung Min and Finance and Revenue Minister Hla Tun reportedly confiscated farmlands around Thankheltaung village in the Htantawgyi village-tract of Tatkon Township, Naypyidaw Union Territory. They have already planted mango trees there, the 28 farmers said.

The land grab and use came despite the Township Peace and Development Council chairman Nay Aung's order that nothing be grown on the site. After the order, Tin Htoo and Nay Lin cleared the land with bulldozers, they said.
The junta is letting Rangoon-based foreign and local journalists observe the polls, but at limited locations across the country and at a distance from the voting action, Washington-based Radio Free Asia's Burmese programme reported on Sunday.

It will allow diplomats to accompany observers to 18 locations across the 14 states or divisions and is to provide transport and accommodation, the service said, quoting an unnamed foreign journalist.

But monitors have been told to keep their distance from polling stations and vote counting -- at least 150 feet (45.72 metres) -- and that they could take photographs and video of voting and counting with zoom lenses, the report said.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 November 2010 14:49 )  
Confronting Democratic Modernity in Military-ruled Burma
journal englsh
The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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