Opposition parties accuse Burma’s Vice President of vote rigging in his own re-election

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The Vice President of Burma has been accused of vote rigging in Burma’s general election by the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) and the National League for Democracy (NLD).

Sai_Mawk_Kham,_Vice_President_of_Myanmar,_meets_PM_Modi
Sai Mauk Kham , Vice President of Burma

Dr. Sai Mauk Kham, the current Vice President and a candidate from the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), ran for a Lower House (Pyithu Hluttaw) seat in northern Shan State’s Lashio Township in Sunday’s general election.

On Monday, the day after voting took place, the SNLD and NLD opposition released a joint statement to both the public and the Union Election Commission (UEC). The “letter of objection” claimed that 11,815 advanced votes had arrived at Lashio’s election commission office at midnight on November 9, almost eight hours after the polls had closed and the ballot boxes had been sealed shut.

Nearly all of these advanced votes endorsed the USDP in different constituencies within the township.

Despite these claims, on Wednesday the UEC announced an election victory for Dr. Sai Mauk Kham.

Sai Soe Myint, an SNLD candidate who was competing against Dr. Sai Mauk Kham for the same seat in Lashio, told SHAN that the SNLD and NLD contacted the UEC on the matter not due to the Vice President’s victory, but because of inconsistencies with the ballots.

“We objected because the advanced voting process is not right,” Sai Soe Myint said. “There should not be that many advanced votes. And when we look at the advanced voting ballots, they all are similar; the bags are the same. They are very new.”

Sai Wan Leng Kham, an Upper House (Amyotha Hluttaw) candidate from SNLD in Lashio, said that after filing their complaint, the party had not received a response from the UEC.

“We heard that the (UEC) told the media that if we wanted to file a complaint, we had to do it before the ballot box was opened,” Sai Wan Leng Kham said. “If the ballots are already opened and the results released, that complaint cannot be recognized.”

The Election Commission in Lashio Township was scheduled to hold a press conference today in order to clarify the controversial issue, according to the UEC.

“Although a candidate has been elected as a member of parliament, we still can sue them,” said Sai Soe Myint, suggesting that the opposition may be contemplating legal action.

According to a report published by The Myanmar Times on November 9, in 2010 Dr. Sai Mauk Kham allegedly won his current Upper House seat in Lashio Township with the help of over 26,000 advanced votes, placing him ahead of a candidate from the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP).

Neither Dr. Sai Mauk Kham, who has served as Vice President since 2011, nor his party—USDP—could be reached for comment at the time of reporting.

By Shan Herald Agency for News (S.H.A.N)

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