Past, present military heavyweights cast ballots

Past, present military heavyweights cast ballots

Heavyweights from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) have cast their ballot in Burma’s historic general election.

President Thein Sein was seen voting at a polling station in Naypitaw on Sunday.

The President has previously indicated he would not seek a second term in the top job.

However, he has not ruled it out, saying he would be available if asked.

Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann was later sighted voting alongside his wife.

The former USDP Chairman is a candidate in Phyu Township.

Shwe Mann addressed the media directly.

“I wish for successful polling today and calm in the post-polling period… In order to achieve that, I would like all of you – media workers, members of the public and concerned officials – to work together,” he said.

Members of the military elite also turned out to have their say in the new government.

Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces Min Aung Hlaing voted in the capital around lunchtime.

The Senior General is widely considered as being a potential presidential candidate. Such a move would require his retirement from the military.

Military rule effectively ended in 2010 though its legacy was evident in in numerous constituencies across the country.

In Karenni State in eastern Burma, Minister of the President’s Office Soe Thien was running in what he dubbed a “military friendly constituency.”

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The retired general is anticipated to poll well with approximately 1,300 of the 6,000 voters military enlistees.

Karenni State minister Chit Hla reported everything as running smoothly at polling stations in the region.

“I see the arrangements here are pretty systematic… Everything is in accordance with the procedures and guidelines”.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), is expected to win a large number of seats in the election.

The armed forces will retain a strong presence, as military personnel are constitutionally guaranteed 25 percent of parliamentary seats.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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