Myanmar election to go ahead as planned - election panel

Myanmar election to go ahead as planned - election panel

Poll body had proposed delaying Nov 8 vote

People ride motorbikes and bicycles on a flooded street, as they participate in the National League for Democracy party's election campaign rally in Mandalay, Myanmar Oct 13. The country’s election commission had proposed postponing the historic poll due to flooding. (EPA photo)
People ride motorbikes and bicycles on a flooded street, as they participate in the National League for Democracy party's election campaign rally in Mandalay, Myanmar Oct 13. The country’s election commission had proposed postponing the historic poll due to flooding. (EPA photo)

YANGON -- Myanmar's general election will go ahead as planned on Nov 8, the country's Union Election Commission said in a statement late Tuesday.

The announcement comes at the end of a day of speculation as a result of the commission holding a meeting at which it asked political parties to agree to the postponement of the election due to heavy flooding and landslides in the country.

Three parties agreed to the move, with further groups abstaining and only Aung Sang Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy opposing the plan.

The Nobel laureate's party is expected to win the poll, which marks a major shift in Myanmar's political landscape, giving the platform to democracy activists shut out of public life during nearly half a century of strict military rule that ended in 2011.

The election commission invited 10 parties to the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, on Tuesday morning and asked them whether they wanted to postpone the election due to the worst floods to hit the country in decades.

The NLD opposed the move, while the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party was in favour of postponing the poll, the two people said.

"We invited political parties to get their opinions. The main reasons are the current natural disasters and unstable situation in the country," Zeyar Maung, an official at the Union Election Commission headquarters, told Reuters.

"It is still undecided yet whether to postpone the election."

More than 100 people have been killed and more than 1 million "critically affected" by the flooding in recent months, according to the government and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

It is the worst natural disaster in Myanmar since Cyclone Nargis killed nearly 140,000 people in May 2008.

Win Htein, a senior NLD official who attended the meeting, told Reuters the election commission planned to publish an announcement on the issue "soon".


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