SHAN reporters spoke with locals in Panglong, Loilem Township, southern Shan State, as they exited the polls during Burma’s national election today. Voters commonly expressed frustration with long waits, disorganization and crowding. In this area, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) is believed to be the favored party among the public, and many told SHAN that they had voted for SNLD candidates.
Loilem Township has an estimated 83,000 voters and is located in the district by the same name, which is home to seven townships in total. Last week SHAN reported that in two of these townships, Kesi and Mong Hsu, voting had been cancelled by the Union Election Commission due to ongoing armed conflict, causing the annulment of over 100,000 votes.
“I got here at 6:15 a.m. We were looking for our names on the voting lists. We had to go to each polling station, one by one. Some people got bored and went back home. All people have their ID cards, but their names are not on the lists. The people responsible for the polling places said they needed to come back in the evening. I need to wait until the evening to decide how I feel about this election. I voted for the SNLD. I like this party. I think they will make a change.”
“They were not following the numbers. It is very busy outside, and we cannot go inside. It was crowded, so I will go back home for a while and come back later to vote.”
“My name was supposed to be on the list at polling station Number One. But then I was told that my name was not there and I had to go to polling place Number Two. Some people went with me, and they were tired of going back and forth checking for their names, so they went back home. I voted for SNLD, because I like their policies. I voted for SNDP in 2010, but now there are two [Shan] parties so I have a choice…I hope this election will make this country become a democracy and federal union.”
“I voted for the SNLD because I believe they will change politics for the better.”
“It was very crowded. They were not calling us in the order of our numbers. Whoever got here first, voted first. I heard them call a number over 2000, but I don’t understand when each number will be called. The person responsible for the polling place was not managing the people outside. They told us to make three lines, but they didn’t enforce it. People didn’t listen. I don’t understand what they want to do. In my village tract, there are about 1,500 people. Some families were not able to get numbers for everyone in their household.”
“I got here at 6 a.m. I waited for one hour to vote. It was crowded for the people here. Now I have voted, and I voted for SNLD. I hope that SNLD wins, because I want the political situation to improve.”
By NANG HOM AND SIMMA FRANCIS (Shan Herald Agency for News / S.H.A.N)