December 24, 2016

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VOTES FROM AFAR — Almost 18,000 votes cast abroad in less than a week

Officials check voters’ lists before issuing ballot papers to voters at Myanmar’s embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Photo: MNA
Officials check voters’ lists before issuing ballot papers to voters at Myanmar’s embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Photo: MNA

NEARLY 6,600 overseas voters cast advance votes on Sunday for the upcoming general election of 8 November. Since advance voting began on 13 October, the total number of overseas voters rose to 17,498.
The advance voting period will end on 23 October.
About 18 overseas polling stations have been established at Myanmar embassies and consulates abroad.
Some overseas voters expressed criticisms about the inconveniences they encountered while attempting to cast a vote for the historic election, which is the first open general election in 25 years.
“I did not get a ballot paper for the Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House),” Thae Thae, who cast an advance vote at the Myanmar embassy in Japan for Yangon’s South Okkalappa constituency, told The Global New Light of Myanmar over the phone.
“I will phone the embassy before 23 October to confirm whether I will be provided with the missing ballot paper,” said the 23-year-old.
Kyaw Naing, 49, a Myanmar national in Singapore, said he was not included on the voter list for the Mayangone constituency when the Myanmar embassy released it publicly on 13 October.
“Embassy officials asked me to formally lodge a complaint at the embassy. I was asked to return to the embassy to cast my vote on 16 October—which I did and it was fine,” he added. Following the beginning of the advance voting period for overseas Myanmar nationals this week, the Union Election Commission requested on Friday that voters be patient, as such processes are new to Myanmar.
A ballot with a signature of an official of a Myanmar embassy is considered a valid vote, according to UEC. The statement issued by UEC also urged overseas Myanmar nationals who cannot cast advance votes during the slated period to obtain recommendations from embassy officials to qualify them to cast their votes again on election day. However such voters must be in Myanmar on November 8 to do so.

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