Post-election lawsuits fly

A lawsuit is being filed against Burma’s election authority by the opposition National Democratic Force as anger over the controversial polls continues.

The party, which won 16 seats in the 7 November vote, is accusing the Election Commission of failing to prosecute ballot station officials who allegedly cast bogus votes.

Thein Nyunt Zaw, an NDF candidate in Rangoon division, said that some officials in Rangoon’s Thongwa ninth ward had also cast votes “on behalf of others”, a claim that has been echoed elsewhere in Burma.

Allegations of fraud have hounded the Burmese generals since the elections, which were won in landslide victory by the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

One of the main controversies leading up to the polls centred on the collection of advance votes. While the government is legally allowed to order advance votes from Burmese living abroad, or those who are unable to reach polling booths on the day, reports of widespread coercion of Burmese nationals prior to the day emerged.

A number of opposition parties who had observers at ballot stations during the counting process claimed that any initial lead taken by them was reversed after the advance votes were factored in. It is not clear however how many of the total lodged votes were done in advance.

The USDP meanwhile has filed a complaint against Tin Tin Mar, a candidate for the opposition Democratic Party Myanmar (DPM) party, which won only three seats, compared to the USDP’s 873.

According to DPM general secretary, Than Than Nu, the USDP is accusing Tin Tin Mar of vote-buying, following her victory over a USDP candidate in the Mandalay division constituency they competed in.

“She was subpoenaed by the election commission in Naypyidaw so she will have to go there on 29 December to give an explanation,” Than Than Nu said. She added that a letter sent to the party by the Election Commission alleged that a DPM member canvassing for Tin Tin Mar had promised voters 1,500 kyat ($US1.50) in exchange for the vote.

Meanwhile one independent election candidate in Mandalay’s Chanmyatharzi township is preparing to sue his USDP rival and current health minister, Dr Kyaw Myint, over alleged foul play and collection of advance votes. Kyaw Myint won his constituency.

The junta announced last week that 76 percent of the more than 29 million eligible voters had cast ballots for the elections, the country’s first in 20 years.

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