Burma Invites ASEAN Observers to Witness Special Elections

Posted March 20th, 2012 at 5:10 am (UTC-5)
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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations says it has been invited by Burma to send a team of observers to next month's by-elections.

The regional bloc announced Tuesday the country's new civilian government has invited a five-member observer delegate team, accompanied by three media personnel. ASEAN says separate teams of two legislators and three media representatives from each member state have also been invited to observe the April 1 balloting.

The invitations come nearly a month after ASEAN won a promise from Burmese President Thein Sein that it would “seriously consider” allowing an observer team into the country. Burma has taken a number of steps toward political reform, including easing press restrictions, negotiating cease-fire agreements with several ethnic groups, and holding talks with democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Aung San Suu Kyi is running for one of the 43 open parliamentary seats at stake in the April 1 vote. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate recently warned of possible electoral fraud, saying that government voter lists appear to include “a lot of dead people.”