Britain hits out at 'flawed' Myanmar elections

7th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague hit out at Myanmar's first elections in 20 years, saying Sunday that the vote was "flawed" and did not represent progress for the military-ruled nation.

"We know the result of these elections is already a foregone conclusion. They will not be free, fair or inclusive," Hague said in a statement.

"Holding flawed elections does not represent progress. For the people of Burma (Myanmar), it will mean the return to power of a brutal regime that has pillaged the nation's resources and overseen widespread human rights abuses, including arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, rape and torture.

He said Britain would continue to maintain pressure on the regime until we see real progress on democracy, governance and human rights," he added.

Hague said that more than 2,100 political prisoners remain incarcerated in Myanmar, which voted Sunday in its first election in two decades as complaints of intimidation added to fears the poll was a sham.

Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi remained locked up and two pro-junta parties were together fielding about two-thirds of the total candidates, leaving the splintered opposition little chance of success.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi swept her party to power in 1990 but the result was never recognised by the ruling generals. She has been detained for most of the past 20 years and supported a boycott of Sunday's election.

© 2010 AFP

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