Accusations of foul play continue to plague the junta-backed winners of Burma’s elections, with one party calling for the abolishment of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).
Official results so far announced in state media show the USDP to be leading by a stretch, with more than 900 seats already won. The current runner-up is the Shan Nationalities and Development Party (SNDP), which has won only around 55, although results continue to trickle out.
But allegations of vote-rigging by the military-appointed Election Commission to favour the USDP, which includes up to 30 recently retired junta officials, have dominated coverage of the polls.
Amongst the more vocal complainants is the National Unity Party (NUP), which was seen as a proxy of the regime in the 1990 elections but was usurped by the USDP this time around. NUP candidate Tin Oo said that illegal behaviour was seen at a number of polling stations in his hometown of Pegu.
“When we arrived at the ballot station in Mazin Awon street [in Pegu], we saw people wearing Election Commission badges guarding the doors to voting rooms for each parliament, and they were urging voters to vote for ‘the lion’ [USDP],” he said.
“And there were elderly persons who didn’t know how to vote and [the guards] insisted they help them out. [The guards] marked the boxes next to the USDP logo.”
One party which that failed to win any seats is the Peace and Democracy Party (PDP), which has gone as far as to urge the abolishment of the USDP.
A Central Executive Committee member of the party, Myo Nyunt, said that the USDP, which is led by Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein, was not qualified to register for the elections in the first place.
Under Article 7 of the Political Parties Registration Law, no party competing in the elections can utilise money or property owned by the state. But critics claim that the USDP, which evolved from the junta’s ‘social welfare’ wing, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), has breached this regulation, having inherited much of the USDA’s funds.
Myo Nyunt also said that his party would call for the nullification of the election results given the extent of corruption surrounding the country’s first polls in two decades. But with the EC being the only body able to make such decisions, it’s unlikely any action will be taken.
Additional reporting by Aye Nai