UN tells Myanmar to address poll concerns

UN official urged Myanmar to address concerns over the recent elections.

Yangon: A senior UN official said on Sunday that he had urged the Myanmar government to address concerns over the country`s recent elections, which were widely dismissed as a sham.

Vijay Nambiar, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon`s chief of staff, said at the end of his two-day Myanmar visit that "strong concerns were expressed by many parties about the process and outcome of the recent elections".

He said he had urged the government and the election commission to address these "as transparently as possible".

"This is important for laying the foundation of a credible transition" to democracy, he added, saying he had also called for the release of Myanmar`s political prisoners, believed to number more than 2,000.

The junta`s political proxy has claimed an overwhelming victory in the controversial November 7 poll -- Myanmar`s first in two decades -- amid opposition complaints of cheating and voter intimidation.
Critics say the vote was a charade aimed at preserving the rule of the military junta, and Ban has said the poll was "insufficiently inclusive, participatory and transparent".

During his visit, Nambiar also met members of the opposition movement including Aung San Suu Kyi, who was released from seven years of house arrest on November 13, less than a week after the election.

The democracy icon, detained for much of the past 20 years and sidelined during the poll, said yesterday that the discussion had been enlightening but hoped it was the first of many.
"I think we may need many and frequent meetings to sort out all the problems that... the United Nations is dealing with at the moment in Burma," she said using Myanmar`s former name.

Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy (NLD) party boycotted the vote because of rules that appeared to exclude the dissident from participating and was subsequently disbanded by the junta.

Bureau Report


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