Opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has taken her campaign to Kachin State, offering familiar pledges to fight corruption and bring development, pitching for the support of residents apprehensive about the possible return of the Myitsone Dam project. But she is battling what appears to be flagging support in an electoral battleground that has shifted considerably since her party’s by-election triumph three years ago.
Leaders of several armed ethnic groups say they will not take responsibility for security for next month’s elections in territory they control, stressing that the peace process – not voting – is their priority.
Electoral officials in Mandalay Region are struggling to process requests for voters list additions from more than 70,000 people who have complained that their names have been omitted.
The self-appointed guardians of “race and religion” yesterday justified their religiously infused politics as necessary under the circumstances. Speaking in Yangon at the finale event after a month-long victory lap for their four newly enacted and controversial laws, members of Ma Ba Tha said their political work is necessary to protect Buddhist people during a period of transition.
After nearly a week of taking blows for everything from the peace process to “atrocious” conditions at internally displaced persons camps to the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of ethnic minority voters, foreign minister U Wunna Maung Lwin struck back at the UN this weekend.
Seven armed ethnic groups and government negotiators agreed yesterday to set October 15 for signing the “nationwide ceasefire agreement” after nearly two years of negotiations, despite the refusal of several major factions to join the pact.
For many elderly ethnic Chinese residents of Yangon, the anti-Chinese riots of 1967 are still a fresh wound. It is widely believed that the military government deliberately stoked the violence in an attempt to divert attention from the deteriorating economy. The anti-Chinese sentiment fomented by the regime continues to reverberate, and many of the ethnic Chinese in Yangon consider a vote for the ruling party, the brainchild of then-Senior General Than Shwe, unthinkable.
Organisations representing blind and disabled persons are insisting on equal voting rights, with those who have visual or hearing impairments able to cast a ballot in the November 8 poll the same way anyone else would.
The National League for Democracy is facing electoral challenges due to campaigning by nationalist Buddhist groups, but prominent monk U Wirathu insists there is no coordinated campaign against the party.