Myanmar cancels voting in more minority areas

Election authorities in military-ruled Myanmar, cancelled voting in Sunday`s elections.

Yangon: Election authorities in
military-ruled Myanmar, cancelled voting in Sunday`s elections.

The Union Election Commission cancelled balloting in
the Nov. 7 elections, in 12 more village tracts in six
constituencies, in Kayah state, "as conditions are not
conducive to holding a free and fair election," according to
an official notice seen today. Each tract comprises several
The announcement in the official gazette gave no
further explanation for the action, but exile Myanmar media
have reported, recent clashes between ethnic Karenni groups
and government troops in Kayah state.

The commission in September announced the cancellation
of voting in about 300 village tracts in 33 townships where
restive ethnic minorities are dominant. The move is believed
to have disenfranchised about 1.5 million people in more than
3,400 villages, though official numbers are not available.

The September announcement was the first sign from the
government that the country`s first elections in two decades
may not go as smoothly as desired, despite the junta`s tight
control over their organisation and rules. Pro-democracy
groups, as well as Western nations and human rights
organisations, have already criticised the elections as unfair

The announcement said the elections had been cancelled
in several townships in Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon and Shan
states, including four townships in the Wa self-administered
Ethnic groups in those areas, which are mostly along
the eastern and northern borders, disagree with the ruling
junta over its insistence that they integrate their semi
autonomous security forces into the government`s border

Many of the groups have sought more autonomy since
Myanmar`s independence in 1948, and the government maintains
uneasy cease-fires with them.