To cheers and boos from the watching public, electoral officials in a Mandalay Region township are counting votes one-by-one in public. The unusual counting method was adopted to allay fears that unqualified voters had been trucked in to rig the result.
The high-stakes vote in Pyin Oo Lwin threw up a number of controversies yesterday, including disappearing voter ID cards, disenfranchised voters and media lockouts at one major polling station.
Following a complaint from the opposition, electoral officials in Natogyi township, Mandalay Region, have struck the names of seven voters from the electoral roll after finding that they were not residents.
Muslims in Meiktila, which was ravaged by communal violence in 2013, say they are afraid to vote for the opposition National League for Democracy in this weekend’s election. They fear that being identified with the NLD could bring further religious violence in the Mandalay Region town.
A software blunder has struck more than 350 voters from the electoral roll in Mandalay Region’s Wundwin township, officials have admitted. U Kyaw Soe Naing, an electoral officer with the Meiktila district commission, said they would take action to ensure no voter was denied the right to cast a ballot.
Middle-school students’ names have been included on the voter list in Mandalay Region’s Natogyi township, according to a complaint filed by the National League for Democracy. U Sein Kyaw Moe, who is running for a regional hluttaw seat, said the names appeared in the list for Ywar Thar Aye village.
Nearly 160 years since King Mindon founded Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city remains central to culture and politics. On the brink of the country’s first freely contested national election in 25 years, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party is waiting to see if its hold over the city will be broken by the opposition National League for Democracy.
U Khin Maung Thein is one the few candidates who openly state that he isn’t afraid of Buddhist nationalist group Ma Ba Tha. It’s quite an assertion for the only Muslim candidate running in Mandalay’s five urban townships, and one of just a handful in the whole race.
In a renovated residential building off 62nd Street, 19 students sit in front of a whiteboard and discuss strategies for surviving on a desert island. The mock scenario is just one of many that will be implemented at the Mandalay Rule of Law Centre over the five-week long course, which aims to educate legal professionals and community leaders in the fundamental concepts behind the phrase “rule of law”.