Nearly 2.6 Million Minorities Face Exclusion in Myanmar’s Election

“It’s a milestone for Myanmar to be holding a second multiparty election, but however long the lines are to vote, this election will be fundamentally flawed,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The election can’t be free and fair so long as a quarter of the seats are reserved for the military, access to state media isn’t equal, government critics face censorship or arrest, and Rohingya are denied participation in the vote.”

Second Openly Contested General Election

The polls, which will be only the second general election since the end of full military rule in the country, will elect members to both the upper house (the House of Nationalities) and the lower house (the House of Representatives) of the Assembly of the Union, as well as State and Regional Hluttaws (legislatures), according to IANS.

A total of 1,171 national, state, and regional seats will be contested.

Calling for a “peaceful orderly and credible” election process in a statement issued by his spokesperson on Friday, Guterres hoped the vote might lead to refugee returns “in safety and dignity”, UN News reported.

The 2015 election had brought Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy to power and the party is widely expected to retain power, thanks to Suu Kyi’s popularity.

(With inputs from The Guardian, Al Jazeera, IANS and Human Rights Watch.)

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