No serious complaints in Myanmar vote: ASEAN chief

Last Updated: Sunday, April 1, 2012 - 20:30

Phnom Penh: Voting in Myanmar`s historic
by-elections is going "rather smoothly", ASEAN chief Surin
Pitsuwan said on Sunday, adding that despite claims of ballot
irregularities he had not heard "anything serious".

"All of our people are there reporting that everything
seems to be going rather smoothly," Surin said in the
Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, where officials are preparing
for a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN).

Voters in Myanmar flocked to the polls today for
elections expected to sweep opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
into parliament for the first time as part of dramatic
political reforms.

Observers from ASEAN were among those invited by Myanmar
to monitor the elections.

The milestone polls were marred somewhat by opposition
allegations of ballot-paper irregularities, notably that wax
had been put over the check box for Suu Kyi`s party that could
be rubbed off later to cancel the vote.

Surin said he was not aware of this particular
complaint.

"I have not heard specific complaints but I understand
that overall things are moving well and a lot of those
complaints are very common in many elections in many countries
too," he said. "So I have not heard anything serious."

Earlier in the day the diplomat told reporters that the
ASEAN teams on the ground reported "full enthusiasm, full
alert, full awareness of all parties involved in the
by-elections".

"It`s a good omen for Myanmar," he said.
Myanmar`s poor human rights record and iron-fisted
suppression of political dissent have often hijacked ASEAN
gatherings in the past, much to the embarrassment of more
democratic member-states.

But Myanmar President Thein Sein will attend the summit
on Tuesday and Wednesday in Phnom Penh basking in the glow of
foreign approval for recent reforms in his country.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, April 1, 2012 - 20:30

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