By Burma Partnership
2 December 2010
"Although we don’t like the USDP, all the villagers including me voted for the USDP since we were ordered by the town authorities to vote for the USDP. We were afraid while we were voting since the authorities were watching on us at the polling station, to see if were voting for them or not."
- A voter in Shan State
Throughout the elections, the regime exercised gross abuses of authority in a widespread attempt to dominate and manipulate the elections to their advantage. From publically supporting the regime-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), to employing the Union Election Commission to unlawfully influence voters, to forcing vast numbers of voters to support the USDP or face consequences such as fines, demotions, or arrests, the regime was involved in the elections at all levels. The Election Commission’s blatant favoritism highlights the way in which the elections have been structured to further the regime’s plans to entrench military rule. Certainly, the regime’s handpicked Election Commission and undemocratic election laws are indicative of the severe lack of rule of law in Burma – where laws are structured to be used against the people, rather than to protect their rights.