Sand on the meat: citizen voices on election intimidation, manipulation and loss

December 3, 2010

The following accounts compiled by HURFOM field reporters detail the voices of election participants as the November 7th polling day unfolded.  These civilians were the predominant eyewitness observers to the on the ground operation of the election in Burma. These detailed accounts provide information that confirms concerns of widespread government election manipulation and ballot fraud practiced by Burmese government staff, soldiers, and the key government backed party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Download report as PDF [295KB]

The following abuses of the election polling station rules fall in to several categories that are briefly detailed below. Predominately all abuse of election and polling rules came from either government staff or pro-government USDP members. Government staff included polling station employees, soldiers, administrative staff and members of the election commission (EC) that have dictated rules throughout the entire period of this election. Read more

The toll of government vote manipulation in Mon and Karen States

November 8, 2010

In Mon and Karen States, valid voting communities saw efforts in the week prior to the election to force government administration and civil servants to cast early ballots. These efforts have involved both intimidating voters and taking the ballots from staff to be filled out by senior department heads. As a result, many voters have been intimidated into voting for the USDP, or believe their ballots have been filled out in support of the USDP. Read more

Not Free Not Fair

November 8, 2010

With the Burmese 2010 election now complete, overwhelming evidence that the election was heavily manipulated by the regime has been substantiated. This video details some of these efforts by the SPDC to manipulate the election in favor of the USDP and against ethnic minority groups.

1700 villagers join anti-election protests in Karen and Mon State

November 1, 2010

HURFOM, Mon State and Karen State: In a significant display of anti-election sentiment, three communities in Kyainnseikyi Township and Ye Township have held large anti-election rallies within two days of each other. According to participants, all three rallies were held because none of the communities had heard of any previous instances of open protests to raise awareness about ongoing election-related abuses villages in their area had experienced. Protesters hoped that, despite the risks, because of their actions other communities would more openly display their discontent with the State Peace and Development Council’s (SPDC’s) current election practices. Read more

Mudon Township residents react to USDP campaign tactics

October 28, 2010

In northern Mudon Township, the USDP begun a campaign of gift distribution of snacks to local residents as they pass by, and at local poling meetings, with the apparent aim of securing their votes before the November 7th election date. In addition, residents describe the USDP effort to win the backing of local business leaders. Many residents, who support other local parties, have found the overwhelming campaign unfair and offensive. Read more

Expansion of militia and civilian strike groups at cost to villagers prior to election

October 26, 2010

HURFOM: During the month prior to the election, villagers in northern Ye Township are faceing increased taxation as local militias will be expanded. Resident observers believe the increase is intentionally timed to double the local government militias prior to the November 7th election date. Notably the new additions appear to be ex-soldiers loyal to the current regime. The additions, wich will double monthly taxation, have caused fears amongst local residents that such costs will cause sever economic hardship. Read more

35 Days Till Election: how state resources and area restrictions impact ethnic votes in Mon and Karen States

October 6, 2010

HURFOM: On September 11th, the Burmese State Election Commission[1] evoked section 8 (f) of the Union Election Laws, declaring at least 164 village tracts, as HURFOM can confirm, unsuitable for participation in the November 7th election due to apparent security concerns. Specifically, 155 of these village-tracts belonged to 7 townships of Karen State and 9 village-tracts belonged to 2 townships of Mon State. Affected are an estimated 400,000 voting age citizens. The sudden decision to exclude these predominately ethnic regions has raised considerable concerns, as the regions concerned are not particularly unstable and possess a fair amount of infrastructure. Rather, the areas targeted have particularly high levels of ethnic constituents that had, until that point, rallied around the campaigns of local ethnic parties.

Moreover communities in more rural ethnic regions of Burma have not benefited from the nominally more transparent setting that campaigning in Rangoon has given some parties. Areas of Mon and Karen state not banned from participation, have experienced frequent and widespread instances of election fraud, manipulation and coercion by regime forces as well as members of the pro-regime parties, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the National Unity Party (NUP).
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SPDC election training pressures villagers; headmen sign guarantee of pro-regime votes by residents

September 25, 2010

HURFOM, Nyaung Lay Bin Township, Pague Division: During a patrol of south eastern Nyaung Lay Bin Township, two columns of SDPC soldiers stopped in at least 4 villages, issued travel restriction orders, held a training on the election which emphasized the  USDP as the best pick of parties, and forced village headmen to sign a document confirming that they would make all villagers vote for political parties that would benefit the state. Read more

Local education staff are forced to attend USDP polling training

September 21, 2010

HURFOM: Local teachers from Beelin Township government schools have been ordered to attend polling booth trainings conducted by senior members of the USDP. Teachers have expressed concern and disinterest in the election as a result of the USDP’s key position in conducting election preparations. Read more

Watering the Poison-Tree: The ongoing systemic erosion of democratic process

September 11, 2010

With two months to go until the November 7th polling date for the 2010 Burmese national election, widespread evidence exists indicating that whatever pretense was made of a democratic process, its actual implementation within the election has fallen incredibly short. State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) forces have remained active in undermining the nascent democratic process with significant multi-faceted attempts to ensure the continuity of the current governments rule post November 7th.

Download report as PDF [1,735KB]

These efforts have targeted democratic and opposition forces through a variety of approaches designed to effectively overwhelm any opportunity for political engagement before the campaign period even began officially on August 31st. They include re-writing the constitution to bind the junta to the political system; legal entanglement and restriction; censorship; and the formation of government militias and thug groups1; the use of existing government funding, administration, police, military, and civilian action groups to campaign for government parties2; using state money to fund pro-government civilian parties; using coercion through rewards and threats in order to secure votes; While portions of these activities are actually written in to the legal framework for the lection, others violate the election laws written by the current ruling junta, technically requiring that the subsidiary pro-government parties involved be deregistered and disband. Read more

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