During next month’s elections, foreign observers or international media will not be allowed into Myanmar, the country’s authorities said.
But Thein Soe, the election commission chief, said that foreign diplomats and representatives from UN organisations based inside Myanmar would be allowed to observe voting on November 7.
“We are holding the election for this country,” Thein said in a briefing to diplomats and media in the capital on Monday. “It’s not for other countries…. We will have credibility after holding the election in front of all the people.”
He added that overseas journalists would not be allowed into Myanmar for the vote because foreign news agencies already have staff based there.
He also said that to enable voters to “cast their votes freely”, no photography or filming will be allowed inside the polling stations.
Since 1962, Myanmar has been ruled by the military. Activists and Western governments say the elections are aimed at simply entrenching the generals’ hold on power.
More than 29 million people, roughly half the official population, will be eligible to cast a ballot, with 3,071 candidates from 37 parties contesting the vote.
Because it chose to boycott the vote, arguing that the rules were unfair, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party has been dissolved by the authorities
The junta’s proxy parties are seen as having a major advantage in the contest for the remaining seats, and one quarter of the seats in parliament are reserved for the military.
The last election, in 1990, was won by Suu Kyi’s party, but it was never allowed to take power. The democracy icon has spent most of the past two decades in detention.