Army-backed party claims victory in Myanmar vote
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Last Updated: Tuesday, November 09, 2010, 13:02
Yangon: The Myanmar military's political proxy claimed victory Tuesday in the country's widely criticised first election in 20 years, saying it had won about 80 per cent of the seats.

The poll has been denounced by Western governments as anything but free and fair and pro-democracy parties who participated have complained of intimidation and "cheating" at polling booths.

"We have won about 80 percent of the seats. We are glad," said a senior member of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), who did not want to be named.

The vote appeared to have gone largely according to the junta's plans but fighting erupted between government troops and ethnic rebels yesterday, triggering an exodus of about 20,000 people to neighbouring Thailand.

At least three civilians were killed when heavy weapons fire hit the town of Myawaddy in Karen State, an official in Myanmar said. There was no information on any troop casualties on either side.

There was no official announcement from the junta or election officials on the vote results, but the USDP had been widely expected to sweep the poll given the severe financial, campaigning and other hurdles facing opposition parties.

The USDP was formed by Prime Minister Thein Sein and other former top military officials who shed their uniforms to contest Sunday's election.

The USDP member said turnout was more than 70 per cent, despite muted activity seen at many polling stations on election day.

There were also widespread accusations of irregularities on election day.

"It's very different from our expectation because of foul play," said Than Nyein, chairman of the National Democratic Force, created by former members of Suu Kyi's party, which boycotted the vote and was disbanded.

"We have our evidence. Some candidates complained... because there was vote cheating," he told AFP yesterday.

Thu Wai, chairman of the Democratic Party, also said the results would be worse than expected, "not only because of the advance votes, but also because we didn't have representatives at every polling station".

With 25 per cent of the seats in parliament reserved for military appointees whatever the outcome, the two main pro-junta parties needed to win just another 26 per cent from the elected seats to secure a majority.


First Published: Tuesday, November 09, 2010, 13:02

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