Authorities give out food in exchange for 'Yes' votes

May 21, 2008 (DVB), Local authorities in Thingangyun township, Rangoon, have been giving rice and cooking oil to families who agree to vote 'Yes' in the constitutional referendum, a local resident said.

A Thingangyun resident said people in one ward had been given the basic goods in return for the whole family voting 'Yes'.

"People who live in Kyipwaryay ward were asked by local authorities to votes ‘Yes’ in the coming referendum," the resident said.

"Each family who agreed to vote ‘Yes’ was given 4 pyi of rice and 50 kyattha of cooking oil," he went on.

"Not everyone in a family necessarily needed to cast their own votes , just one member of the family could vote on behalf of the others."

An employee of Kyimyintdaing township’s High School (2) told DVB that all school employees living in school quarters had been directed by the school’s headmistress to cast ‘Yes’ votes in the referendum.

Those who had already voted ‘No’ in advance were ordered by the headteacher to vote again in support of the constitution.

The Burmese military regime held its referendum on the draft constitution in most of the country on 10 May, but polling was delayed until 24 May in 47 townships in Rangoon and Irrawaddy divisions that were worst affected by the recent cyclone.

The junta has already announced the results of the 10 May vote, claiming 92.4 percent of voters supported the constitution.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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