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Swiss regret Myanmar election conditions

The freedoms of expression, association and the press were massively restricted in Sunday’s elections in Myanmar, says the Swiss government.

On Sunday, the people of Myanmar returned to the polls 20 years after the first “democratic” elections won by the party of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi – a victory annulled by the junta. Thirty-seven political parties and 82 independent candidates took part.

In the run-up to the election, the Swiss government expressed its concern to the Myanmar government about the undemocratic and unfair nature of the electoral process.

In a statement on Monday, the foreign ministry said “the very extensive constraints placed on the selection of candidates and the heavy restrictions imposed on the freedoms of association and expression left no room for a fair election campaign”.

The results of the election had to be viewed on this basis, it said.

The Swiss government appealed to the Myanmar authorities to see to it that with these multi-party elections a process based on the rule of law and respect for human rights be initiated that will “progressively develop into a democratic form of government that includes all political parties and groups”.

It also urged the Myanmar government to release all political prisoners immediately, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and to initiate an open and serious dialogue with all political parties and ethnic groups.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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