- Title: MYANMAR: Voting continues in country's first election in 20 years
- Date: 8th November 2010
- Summary: YANGON, MYANMAR (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (NOVEMBER 7, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VOTERS LOCATING THEIR NAMES FROM LIST OUTSIDE BUILDING (3 SHOTS) VOTERS IN POLLING STATION LOCATING THEIR NAMES VOTERS IN QUEUE VOTER CASTING BALLOT 75-YEAR-OLD VOTER U THIN AUNG WALKING WITH CANE, ASSISTED BY FAMILY MEMBERS (SOUNDBITE) (Burmese) 75-YEAR-OLD VOTER, U THIN AUNG, SAYING "I was born in this village and I grew up here. I use to head an election office here. Now I'm too old to do it." VOTERS AND MEDIA WALKING TOWARDS YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (YMCA) BUILDING POLLING STATION INSIDE YMCA BUILDING VOTERS LOCATING THEIR NAMES FROM LIST WITH ELECTION WORKERS HINDU VOTERS LOCATING THEIR NAMES FOREIGNERS IN CORRIDOR OF POLLING STATION EXTERIOR: YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (YMCA) BUILDING VOTERS AND MEDIA INSIDE YWCA POLLING STATION YOUNG VOTER SHOWING HER ID TO ELECTION WORKER VOTERS QUEUING VOTER LOCATING NAME ON LIST
- Embargoed: 23rd November 2010 12:00
- Location: Myanmar
- Country: Burma (Myanmar)
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA9SB68GCMVQETHU77FA8SUVL1M
- Story Text: Voters continued to cast their ballots in Myanmar's first election in 20 years on Sunday (November 07), as at least one official who refused to be identified said voter turn-out was low, but they were hoping that participation would pick up in the afternoon.
Many voters walked to the polls to vote in an election which is a scripted vote that assures army-backed parties an easy win but brings a hint of parliamentary politics to the isolated, oppressive state.
A 75-year-old resident of Yangon, U Thin Aung (pron: oo-te-aw), remembered how he had voted in the past.
"I was born in this village and I grew up here. I use to head an election office here. Now I'm too old to do it," U Thin Aung said.
Aside from schools, clubs like the local YMCA and YWCA served as polling stations.
The carefully choreographed end of direct army rule, marred by complex rules that stifled major pro-democracy forces, entered its final stage in a race largely between two powerful military-backed parties running virtually unopposed.
The vote will not bring an end to Western sanctions but could reduce Myanmar's isolation in Asia at a time when neighbouring China has dramatically increased investments in natural gas and other resources in the former British colony also known as Burma.
Foreign media and outside election monitors were banned from the polls.
The Internet was barely functioning, hit by repeated failures widely believed to be orchestrated by the military junta to control information. Power failures in Yangon also hampered early turnout.
It is the first vote since 1990, when pro-democracy candidates won by a landslide in a result ignored by the junta.
Some analysts say the election will create a framework for a democratic system that might yield changes in years ahead in a country bestowed with rich natural resources and located strategically between rising powers China and India.
The United States, Britain and some Asian governments have expressed concern about transparency and say the vote will lack credibility while an estimated 2,200 political prisoners, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, remain in detention.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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