Supporters of the military regime in Burma apparently will not make themselves less of a pariah by holding lightly attended elections that excluded the nation’s most popular leader. President Obama, visiting in India, said the voting was neither free nor fair.
“We renew our calls for authorities to freeand all other political prisoners immediately and unconditionally,” Obama said. The Nobel Prize winner has been in custody most of the time since her party easily won the last elections, 20 years ago.
The government said the voting results, which will automatically give the military 20 percent of the seats in Parliament, will be released in due time.
The exile-based Irrawaddy Website said turning was so light in some areas it resembled ghost towns, though larger voter queues were reported in some areas.
Other than support from China and North Korea, most of Southeast Asia has paid little attention to the elections because Suu Kyi was barred from taking part. The National Democratic Force, which opposes the regime, said some of its supporters had been threatened with jail terms if they voted for it.
compared the election campaigning to a Stalinist show trial. The regime calls the government Myanmar. The nation is second-largest in area in Southeast Asia with a population of 50 million. A small minority group has been fighting an insurgency for decades.