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USDP accuses opposition of stealing votes

The pro-junta party that swept to landslide victory in Burma’s elections last week is rumoured to be filing a complaint about alleged vote stealing by an opposition party in Arakan state.

The chairperson of the Rakhine [Arakan] Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), Dr Aye Maung, said that he had heard of the rumours circulating Sittwe, the capital of the western Burmese state, where his party won 35 of the 44 seats against stiff opposition from the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

“That is very strange – apparently they [USDP] are accusing us of stealing their votes,” he told DVB. “Who knows, the rumours could come true.”

He said that the complaints would likely be filed by Dr Chan Thar and Dr Than Shwe, two USDP candidates who lost seats to the opposition RNDP, which fielded 46 candidates in a region where it has a strong support base.

Dr Aye Maung added that the result had already been recognised by the township-level Election Commission, but voiced concern over the fact that the results had not yet been submitted to the State Election Commission, the supreme authority in vote-related matters.

The USDP today had a further 50 seats confirmed in state media, to add to the 34 already claimed on Monday, the day after Burma held its first elections in 20 years. A USDP official said early this week that the party, which is led by Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein and includes some 27 recently-retired junta officials, had won around 80 percent of the vote.

Countless allegations of election fraud have however dogged the party’s victory, much of which stems from the junta’s insistence that various sectors of society, including Burmese nationals living abroad, cast advance votes.

The apparently scant scrutiny over advance voting has added to fears that much of the exercise was rigged; a concern compounded by the fact that no foreign election monitors or journalists were allowed in the country during the polls.


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