Myanmar cancels upcoming elections in several regions as Covid-19 cases escalates

A medical worker take a swab sample of a woman to test for Covid-19 coronavirus at a quarantine facility in Yangon. Myanmar govt announced that the Covid-19 infections has surged to 33,488 in the country with the death toll reaching 799 as of Saturday morning (Oct 17, 2020). - AFP

YANGON, Oct 17 (Xinhua): Myanmar's Union Election Commission (UEC) on Saturday announced cancellation of upcoming general elections in some townships of the country's regions and states.

The commission called off polls in some places of Bago region, Kachin, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan states, citing that the areas do not meet a condition to hold free and fair elections as a reason.

According to the commission, the general elections will be cancelled in some village tracts in two townships of Bago region, 11 townships of Kachin state, six townships of Kayin state, one township in Mon state, 13 townships of Rakhine state and 23 townships of Shan states.

Myanmar is set to hold general elections on Nov. 8 and a total of 6,969 candidates involving candidates from political parties and independent runners will vie for 1,171 seats at three levels of the parliament in the polls, the commission's figures showed.

Advance polling for out-of-country voting has been conducted abroad and local advance voting will be conducted later this month.

On Friday, the President's Office issued an order with instruction to the respective union level government organizations, ministries, regional or state governments and respective departments to take action against unlawful acts related to the elections in accordance with the country's existing laws.

The presidential order said the country is seeing numbers of election-related offenses such as misusing race and religion in campaigns and creating disturbances to the peaceful living environment and other unlawful manners.

Recently, three candidates from Myanmar's ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) were abducted by an armed group during a campaigning activity for the elections in Rakhine state on Wednesday, Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun, secretary of the Military True News Information Team, told Xinhua.

The 60-day election campaign season has begun in Myanmar's regions and states since early September.

The ruling NLD party won an absolute majority of parliamentary seats in the last general elections on Nov. 8, 2015 and has been running the government since 2016.

The number of Covid-19 infections has risen to 33,488 in myanmar with the death toll reaching 799 as of Friday night, according to a daily statement from the Ministry of Health and Sports.

It said 1,138 more people tested positive for Covid-19 and 34 new deaths were reported on Friday.

A total of 15,477 patients have been allowed to be discharged from the hospitals as of Friday.

myanmar reported its first two positive cases of Covid-19 on March 23 this year and a total of 478,067 samples have been tested for the disease so far. - Xinhua
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