The Irrawaddy Burma Election 2010

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USDA Members Favored for Election Sub-commissions

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Members of the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) are being favored for selection as members of election sub-commissions in wards and village tracts for the election to be held later this year.

According to Ward Peace and Development Council (WPDC) offices, USDA members aged between the ages of 30 and 70, and members of the Myanmar National Committee for Women's Affairs (MNCWA) and Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association (MMCWA), have been prioritized for inclusion on the preliminary commission members' lists, and only a few independent individuals are being included.

Sources close to the WPDC offices in Rangoon said the selection of sub-commission members is based on population in each ward.

“21 commission members in total—comprised of five MMCWA, nine USDA, two MNCWA and five individuals—were selected in my ward,” said a member of the MMCWA in Thingangyun Township.

She added that members of the regime-sponsored social organizations were being chosen as election sub-commission members because they were respectful and performed well socially.

A news editor in Rangoon said that the designation of the junta-affiliated organizations whose members are to be selected for the sub-committees was merely to implement the regime's political agenda.

Thus far, committee members have been selected but not given any particular job assignment, said a member of the Village Peace and Development Council (VPDC) in Pegu.

“Our village had to provide 10 people for the sub-commission, including for the person in charge of the polling station and the deputy. The Pegu election commission chairman and an officer from the immigration department then trained them," said the Pegu VPDC member.

“We were asked to submit a list of 27 people between the ages of 30 and 70, with respectable backgrounds, to supervise polling stations. Then 17 people were chosen—10 for station supervision and seven as reserves,” said a WPDC member in Thingungyun Township.

A USDA youth member from Tarmway Township said USDA members over 30-years-old will be assigned to work as sub-commission members, while those under 30 will become members of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

“A list of people over 30-years-old in my ward is being made in order to choose persons to supervise polling stations. Even my father has been listed with the commission. For me, I have been called to be in the USDP,” said the youth.

“It seems that more people from the USDA and MNCWA will be responsible for polling stations this time. In the 1990 election, well-respected people were assigned to those posts. But now, USDA leaders have formed the political party [the USDP] to contest the election and their members will take care of polling stations,” said a person who voted in the 1990 election.

252 government officials, including legal officers, immigration officers and township level administrative officers, were reportedly trained in Naypyidaw on April 7-9. They are believed to be serving as polling station officers in division, state and district levels. 

State-run newspapers reported that on May 6 the Union Election Commission formed the following township election sub-commissions: 18 in Kachin State; 7 in Kayah State; 7 in Karen State; 6 in Chin State; 37 in Sagaing Division; 10 in Tenessarim Division; 28 in Pegu Division; 25 in Magwe Division; 31in Mandalay Division; 10 in Mon State; 17 in Arakan State; 45 in Rangoon Division; 50 in Shan State; and 26 in Irrawaddy Division.

Under the Pyithu Hluttaw Election Law enacted by the regime, township election sub-commissions can specify the number of voters and polling stations in each ward.

During the 1990 general election, 15,154 polling stations were established throughout the country. Four staff were assigned to each station with 1,000 voters, and 12 staff were assigned to stations with 5,000 voters.



Nyan_win80"Once her [Aung San Suu Kyi's] sentence expires in November, and that notion is not disputed, it is our understanding that she will have served her sentence."
—Nyan Win, the foreign minister of Burma


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