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Despite rumours and speculation that flood-hit areas would not be ready in time for November’s general election, Burma’s election commission says it has released revised voter lists for all areas of the country, including Arakan and Chin states and Sagaing Division, which were the most damaged regions during last month’s crisis.
Tin Oo, the chairman of the election commission in Sagaing Division, said the voter lists were announced on schedule on 14 September in the region’s eight districts, including Kale [Kalay], Katha and Mawlaik.
“We were previously advised that the voter lists may not be released on time in some 260 villages across Monywa District, but I just checked and it turns out that they have all been made public,” said Tin Oo.
He said that, according to the most recent figures, there are just over 3.68 million eligible voters in Sagaing Division, including some 5,000 members of military families.
Meanwhile, Chin State’s election commission chairman Lian Oak said the updated voter lists have been pinned up at commission offices in all nine townships across the state.
He said Chin State has more than 270,000 eligible voters, and just over 200 candidates registered to compete in the elections.
Thurein Tun, an election commission official in Arakan State, confirmed that all voter lists in his region were displayed on Monday, noting that 80,000 names have been added to the revised list, making a total of 1.42 million eligible voters in the state.
However, an Arakan National Party member in Mrauk-U disputed the claim, saying the voter lists were released in just 200 of the around 1,000 villages in the area.
“The lists were pinned up in some neighbourhoods in Mrauk-U, but in no more than 200 of the 1,000 or so villages,” he said. “This was due to transportation difficulties – it now takes about six days to travel by road to [main city] Minbya from these villages.”
Last month, several political party officials in the afore-mentioned regions had called for the 8 November polls to be postponed, saying local residents could not afford to pay attention to the election campaigns as they were struggling to rebuild their lives after the destruction caused by the monsoonal flooding and landslides.
Read more about Burma’s flood crisis
Read more DVB coverage of the 2015 election