First overseas advance votes arrive in Nay Pyi Taw

NAY PYI TAW — The first batch of advance votes from Myanmar citizens living abroad were put in ballot boxes Tuesday in polling stations in Nay Pyi Taw days before a general election scheduled for November 8.
Some 401 advance votes from 44 different embassies around the world were placed in ballot boxes in all eight townships of Myanmar’s capital, with representatives of political parties and the media serving as witnesses of the procedure to assure it was carried out with transparency.
The upcoming November 8 polls have been billed as the country’s first truly free and fair election since 1960, held two year before General U Ne Win seized power with a coup and toppled the elected civilian government of Prime Minister U Nu ushering in almost six decades of military rule.
The National League for Democracy opposition party won the 1990 election by a landslide, but was blocked from power thereafter. An election in 2010 was boycotted by the NLD because the party leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest at the time of the polls.
Although perhaps freer and fairer than past elections, the lead up to the 2015 polls has been plagued by accusations of faulty voter lists, dubious advance voting procedures for civil servants and gross mismanagement of overseas voting by the Union Election Commission.
The UEC reportedly mistakenly sent ballots intended for the Japanese embassy to Egypt.
Altogether 34,865 Myanmar nationals living abroad applied for advance votes, but only 30,152 were allowed to vote, UEC officials said. Of the 30,152 permitted to vote, some 19,360 reside in Singapore.

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