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Muslim candidates fail to win any seat in Myanmar

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New Delhi: Final figures from Myanmar polls reveal that not a single Muslim candidate was elected in the country’s first democratic election. All the current Muslim representatives lost and new candidates were not elected.

Reportedly, Muslims were a target of hatred in the lead up to the polls.

Even the Union Election Commission of Myanmar barred several Muslim candidates questioning their citizenship. The extremist pro-Buddhist faction in the country has always alleged that the Muslims were citizens of neighbouring Bangladesh.

“Of the 6,074 approved candidates, 5,130 are Buddhist, 903 Christian and just 28, or 0.5%, are Muslim, a sliver of the percentage of Muslims in the general population,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“This is only partly due to discriminatory decisions by the [commission]. The main parties have also shown extreme bias to stave off criticism from the racist and Buddhist nationalist Ma Ba Tha,” she added.

The ruling Union Solidarity and Development party fielded no Muslim candidates. Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) also relented under pressure from Ma Ba Tha and barred Muslims from contesting in the polls.

Rights violation has always been a blot for Myanmar. With the Rohingyas getting cornered in the western Rakhine state and atrocities against them escalating, they would hope for better days under Suu Kyi.

However, Kyi urged media not to exaggerate the situation. The dynamic leader has pledged to ensure rights for the Rohingyas though ‘Muslim rights’ was not in her priority list during her poll campaign.

Meanwhile, international election watchdogs from the European Union said the election was “well-run” but expressed unease over the disenfranchisement of Muslims. But they expressed hope that the new government will address the issue of religious extremism.

(Picture Courtesy: www.ndtv.com)

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Voting begins in Myanmar general election

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Yangon :  Myanmar’s multi-party general election began across the country on Sunday with 33.5 million eligible voters getting ready to cast votes at respective polling stations.

In Yangon, the voters started queuing in front of the polling stations in respective townships one hour before the clock struck six for ballot casting.

The 2015 general election is the second in Myanmar after the previous military government handed over the state power to a civilian government in 2011 through the first election in 2010.

The election is being held under the secret polling system and closely monitored by more than 10,000 local and international observers.

A total of 6,038 candidates from 91 political parties and 310 independents are competing for more than 1,000 seats at three levels of the parliament in the election.

Of the total, 1,733 candidates are to run for seats of the House of Representatives (Lower House), 886 for the House of Nationalities (Upper House), 3,419 for Region or State Parliament.

The Union Election Commission designated 1,150 constituencies for the vote at three levels of the parliament across the country.

Of them, 323 constituencies will be contested for the House of Representatives, 168 for the House of Nationalities, 630 for the Region or State Parliament and 29 for ethnic representatives.

Competitively strong parties go to the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), led by U Htay Oo, and the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

USDP fielded 1,122 candidates, while NLD fielded 1,123 for the run for seats at all three levels of the parliament.

NLD chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi will compete in Yangon region’s Kawhmu township constituency for a seat of House of Representatives and she was also signified by her first ever personal vote casting in her residential constituency of Bahan township in Yangon.

(IANS)
(Photo Credit : thestoryandthetruth)