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'Huge turnout' for Burma's referendum
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  1. #1
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    'Huge turnout' for Burma's referendum

    'Huge turnout' for Burma's referendum

    A referendum on a new constitution held last weekend in Burma has been approved by 92 per cent of voters, the country's state media has reported.

    It said there was a 99 per cent turnout for the vote, held in areas not affected by the cyclone, Al Jazeera online.

    The announcement on Burmese state television came as the forecast for survivors of the cyclone is getting increasingly bleak.

    Relief supplies still have not reached the people who need them most and now bad weather is threatening aid distribution, the online news agency said.

    The military government's decision to press ahead with the May 10 poll, a week after the deadly cyclone hit, was sharply criticised by aid agencies who said the government should instead be concentrating its resources on helping cyclone survivors and preventing disease.

    Regions devastated by the cyclone, are set to vote on May 24, even though the United Nations estimates that around two million people are still in desperate need of food, water and shelter.

    Burma's government has said 66,000 are dead or missing from the cyclone, but the Red Cross has said it believes the death toll could be in excess of 100,000.

    The new constitution, which took 14 years to draft, has been heavily backed by the military government and state media.

    It says the 194-page document will form the basis for democratic elections to be held sometime in 2010.

    Al Jazeera correspondent Tony Cheng, who crossed secretly into the Burma border town of Myawaddy during the Saturday's vote, found few people who had read the constitution or supported it.

    Many people he spoke to said they planned to put an X in the 'No' box. Critics have denounced the constitution as a sham, designed only to institutionalise the military's grip on power.

    Under its terms the military will be guarantied a quarter of all seats in a future parliament, while another clause allows the president to hand over all power to the military in a state of emergency.

    Activists who have spent time in jail because of their opposition to the military government will be barred from standing for election because of their criminal records.

    The Nation

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    Re: 'Huge turnout' for Burma's referendum

    99% turn out,?????????????????????????????????????????????? ???sure

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    Re: 'Huge turnout' for Burma's referendum

    I don't think voting was voluntary-there were some reports that names etc were taken at the polling stations which meant the vote was far from secret. Consequently surprised at the 92% "for" vote quoted-wonder what has happened to the 7% dissenters?

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    Re: 'Huge turnout' for Burma's referendum

    Ms Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, had campaigned for a "no" vote and denounced the results as a fraud.

    "In some villages, authorities and polling station officials ticked the ballots themselves and did not let the voters do anything," said NLD spokesman Nyan Win.

    Edited from BBC News

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    Re: 'Huge turnout' for Burma's referendum

    Unbelievably popular


    Rangoon - The Burmese junta claimed on Monday that an extraordinary 92.94 per cent of the survivors of Cyclone Nargis supposedly voted "yes" for a new constitution to perpetuate military rule in the country.

    State media - there is no other kind in Burma, "reported" that postponed polling in a national referendum was held last Saturday in 47 townships hardest hit by Cyclone Nargis, which slammed into the central coast and biggest city on May 2-3.

    The cyclone left at least 133,000 dead or missing and about 2.4 million in need of the food, water, shelter and medicines. But they turned out en masse to vote for the junta.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that the people living in the cyclone devastated areas have little reason to support the government, which has been blamed for hampering an international disaster relief effort for the storm victims.

    Since the voting and vote-counting were totally controlled by the military, the polling results are deemed suspicious, if not downright fictitious.

    The government decision to go ahead with its referendum on May 10, in the wake of the destruction wrought by the cyclone, was one of many complaints the international community voiced against the ruling junta's mismanagement of the disaster relief effort.

    The vote was delayed in 47 townships hardest hit by the storm, that has affected up to 2.4 million people, especially those living in the former capital of Rangoon and the Irrawaddy delta.

    According to the government's count, some 92.4 per cent of the populace voted in favour of the charter on May 10.

    The lead-up to the referendum was marred by a nationwide "vote yes" propaganda campaign by the government, accompanied by intimidation and arrests of opponents to the charter.

    In February the ruling junta passed a law making it illegal to publicly criticize the new constitution, which will essentially grant the military control over the upper and lower houses in an elected government.

    The regime has promised to hold an election by 2010. The results of that vote, if it is held, will also support the military junta by a huge percentage.

    The charter has barred opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from holding office as she was married to a foreign national, the late Michael Aris, an Oxford professor.

    Authorities on Friday allowed Suu Kyi to cast an "advance vote" at her home, where she has been under house arrest for the past five years.

    The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been under house arrest since May 30, 2003, after authorities charged her with threatening national security after pro-government thugs attacked her and her followers in Depayin, northern Burma, killing 70 Suu Kyi supporters.

    Suu Kyi is kept incommunicado in her family home and has been unable to comment publicly on the cyclone devastation or the junta's response to it.

    According to Burmese law, the government cannot keep prisoners charged with undermining national security under detention for more than five years.

    Although Suu Kyi's detention period will reach five years on Tuesday, it is widely anticipated that the ruling junta will find an excuse for extending it further.

    The government has come under harsh international criticism for impeding an international disaster relief effort for the victims of Cyclone Nargis, and for going ahead with the self-serving referendum despite the catastrophe. (dpa)

    Bangkok Post

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    Re: 'Huge turnout' for Burma's referendum

    The cynic in me would suggest that the result was "known" before the first vote was cast...

    David
    My new travel blog: https://www.weekender.blog/

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    Re: 'Huge turnout' for Burma's referendum

    Quote Originally Posted by David_Loves_Ubonwan View Post
    The cynic in me would suggest that the result was "known" before the first vote was cast...

    David
    David! Really!

    How could you think such a thing!

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