YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar's general election on Sunday has generated wide international attention, and concerns about fairness. A look at what some international organizations and governments are saying:
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
The electoral process is undermined by systematic and structural problems, including the lack of an independent election commission, ruling party dominance of state media, the reservation of 25 percent of seats for the military, discriminatory voter registration laws, and mass disenfranchisement of voters in some parts of the country. "Long lines of voters on November 8 won't make these fundamentally flawed elections free and fair," says Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
The jailing of peaceful activists, restrictions on free speech, discrimination and the political disenfranchisement of minority groups - in particular the persecuted Rohingya Muslims - seriously undermine elections in Myanmar. "Those in charge might claim that the country is on the path to reform, but in fact a targeted crackdown on freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly has only intensified," says Josef Benedict, Amnesty International's Southeast Asia campaigns director.
The center started by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has sent a team to monitor the election. Team leader Jonathan Stonestreet says they have had access to everything but conflict areas and monitoring of advance out-of-constituency voting. "They have been open with us and very welcoming but there are some gaps in transparency. We won't be everywhere but we'll have a good sample. If the rules are implemented, it should be a transparent election with lots of eyes on it."
Two special advisers to the U.N. secretary-general have expressed concern about reports of an increase in the spread of hatred against Muslim minorities by religious groups and leaders, as well as by members of political parties. They say "the promotion of a political agenda that is based primarily on the protection of a particular religion or ethnic group is dangerous, particularly in a country as richly diverse as Myanmar."
State Department spokesman John Kirby says the U.S. government is "focused on ensuring that the conduct and outcome of the elections are as credible, transparent and as inclusive as possible."