Myanmar junta’s proxy wins 77 percent of contested seats

Sunday, November 21, 2010

YANGON - The proxy party of Myanmar’s ruling junta won 76.8 percent of the 1,096 contested seats in the general election held earlier this month, compiled media reports said Monday.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the political arm of the regime, won 842 seats in the lower, upper and state/regional chambers of parliament in the Nov 7 polls, the first held in the country in 20 years.

The Election Commission has yet to announce the final tally, but state-controlled press has been running lists of winners on a regular basis since the election.

According to those figures, the pro-establishment National Unity Party came second with 5.7 percent, the pro-democracy Shan Nationalities Democratic Party third with 5.2 percent and the Rakhaing National Development Party pulled 3.2 percent.

The National Democratic Force, a breakaway faction from the main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, came in sixth with 1.5 percent of all contested seats.

The NLD is led by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi who was freed from seven years under house arrest Nov 13, a week after the polls.

“Suu Kyi’s release has taken some of the anger away from the junta over the election,” said Maung Zarni, a former Burmese student activist who is now a research fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

He called the election a stage-managed affair, designed to cement the military’s stranglehold on political power.

The junta adopted laws that essentially excluded the NLD, and held the election while Suu Kyi was still under house arrest.

There have been numerous complaints against the USDP, which is packed with ex-military men and government ministers, for tampering with advance ballots, buying votes and intimidating voters, but the military-appointed Election Commission is not expected to act.

Even the official results printed in state-run media are suspect.

“You have to understand that we are dealing with a totalitarian regime in Myanmar,” Zarni said. “These guys have the power to create any fiction they want.”

Myanmar has been under military dictatorships since 1962.

Filed under: Politics

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