RANGOON — Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC) says the general election will not be held in two more townships and several additional village-tracts in Shan State, increasing the country’s no-vote areas for the upcoming poll to part or all of 17 townships* in the state to date.
In a statement released by the UEC on Tuesday afternoon, the commission said the Nov. 8 poll would be canceled in the entirety of Mong Hsu and Kyethi townships, while eight village-tracts in Tangyan Township and 42 village-tracts in Hopang Township also will not have the opportunity to vote because “there are not situations in those areas conducive to free and fair elections.”
The polling body cited Article 10(f) of the Union Election Commission Law, which grants the UEC the authority to cancel or postpone elections in constituencies where either a natural disaster or regional instability inhibits election officials’ ability to hold of free and fair elections.
The cancelation of elections in Mong Hsu and Kyethi townships, and the eight village-tracts in Tangyan Township, was likely prompted by fighting between the Burma Army and the Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army-North (SSPP/SSA-N), which kicked off early this month.
On Oct. 19, the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) submitted a request to the UEC to postpone the election in those three townships due to the fighting.
In a statement released on Oct. 12, the UEC announced that the election would not be held in more than 400 village-tracts in Kachin, Karen, Shan and Mon states, as well as 41 village-tracts in Pegu Division.
*Correction, Oct. 29: This article originally said the election had been wholly or partly canceled in 16 townships.