Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Count delays result in Hlaing Tharyar

Vote counting in the country’s biggest township, Yangon Region’s Hlaing Tharyar, will continue into a third day because of the task of collating results from so many polling stations, election commission officials said last night.

U Thein Soe, chair of the township election commission, said he hoped to finish the task today.

He blamed the delays, which have frustrated candidates of the National League for Democracy, on the sheer size of the constituency.

“Because Hlaing Tharyar is the biggest township in Yangon we have to count many votes from 563 polling stations,” he said.

The industrial hub with a population of nearly 690,000, according to the 2014 census, has 451,564 registered voters who will be represented in the lower house of parliament by just one MP. In contrast, Seikkan in the south of Yangon has one MP for just over 1000 residents, mostly navy personnel, who returned an MP from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party.

But NLD candidates say they already know the results in Hlaing Tharyar and are convinced of their victory, according to U Win Maung who is standing for the regional parliament. A total of 15 parties are running in the township which has a high number of migrant workers and squatters.

“The [election commission] staff are already trained … so we don’t know why they are so late. But I am satisfied that according to the recent situation we will completely win,” U Win Maung said.

Throughout November 8 it became evident that many would–be voters were frustrated by not being able to find their names on electoral registers.

At one polling station only eight people were able to cast ballots out of more than 1000 voters displayed on the station’s list.

Many who came to vote at polling station 10 in Hlaing Tharyar’s ward 11 found their names were missing, while the names that were enumerated on the voter list were not done so properly.

At least two or three other polling stations in the compound experienced similar discrepancies.

The township’s voter list has been a source of contention since its first public display when hundreds of thousands of domestic migrant workers and squatters were excluded, while the names of the deceased and of monks were included.

By the final display of the list shortly before the vote, tens of thousands complained they still were not properly enumerated despite in some cases multiple applications for amending the data.