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US cautious over upcoming Myanmar elections


Daniel Russel (C), US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, seen here speaking in South Korea, 17 March 2015. Photo: Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA

Daniel Russel (C), US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, seen here speaking in South Korea, 17 March 2015. Photo: Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA

The US State Department appears to be taking a cautious approach to Myanmar’s upcoming elections, trying to avoid viewing the situation with “rose-coloured glasses,” as one official put it.

In the US State Department Subcommittee Hearing entitled “Burma’s Challenge: Democracy, Human Rights, Peace, and the Plight of the Rohingya,” on October 21, Mr Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau said, “We’re not wearing rose-colored glasses here.”

Mr Russel indicated the Myanmar polls, set to be held on November 8, would not be free and fair.

“We are very mindful of fundamental structural defects. There is nothing fair about reserving 25 percent of the legislature for the military, nothing fair about disenfranchising the white card holders, the Rohingyas, but Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD [National League for Democracy], the parties, have decided to contest the election on that basis, mindful of those defects,” he told the meeting.

Many view the upcoming elections involving 93 political parties and over 6,000 candidates as Myanmar’s true test of reform.

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