Too many voters for ballot stations

A grossly disproportionate number of voters to polling stations in Mon state means that some people may not be able to vote on Sunday, a Mon party candidate has warned.

Nai Ngwe Thein, chairman of the All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMRDP), said that there were 4000 voters to every station in the region compared to 300-to-one in Burma’s last elections in 1990.

“It takes at least two minutes for each voter in the ballot station to cast votes for the three parliaments…so it will take 600 minutes – 10 hours – for 300 voters,” he said. “The ballot stations are only open from 6am to 4pm – 10 hours in total. That’ll make things difficult.”

The country’s Election Commission (EC) was yesterday told of the concern and said that a token system will be introduced at the ballot station to solve the problem. Nai Ngwe Thein said however that it would still be difficult for people who live in villages where there are no ballot stations.

Locals, both of Mon and Burmese descent, heavily favour ethnic parties over the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and National Unity Party (NUP), he added.

“We believe, by studying people’s opinions on our party and the other parties, that we can win about 80 percent of votes here if [the elections] are free and fair.”

The AMRDP is contesting 45 seats across the three parliaments. Nai Ngwe Thein is standing in the Kyaikmaraw constituency, where he faces competition from the USDP, NUP, the Democratic Party Myanmar and the Karen People’s Party.

Two-thirds of the 37 parties competing in the 7 November elections are of ethnic origin. The seven states that border eastern, western and northern Burma are home to the country’s 135 ethnic minorities, but the junta has scrapped voting in up to 3,400 villages there, where its leverage is weak.

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