NLD's boycott of the poll was total: Tin Oo

The military rulers of Myanmar on Sunday held a general election, the first since 1990, amid a chorus of boycott calls by the dissident National League for Democracy (NLD) and a crescendo of international criticism of the poll process.

The NLD leaders and foreign diplomats said the voting, marked by a low turnout, passed off peacefully. The junta did not hold the poll in a number of “restive” areas controlled by or sympathetic to various “insurgent groups” among the country's ethnic minorities.

At stake were the civilian seats in the proposed upper and lower chambers of Parliament at the “union” level and in the local legislatures. The junta had already reserved for the military personnel one-quarter of all seats.

Neither the Union Election Commission nor the NLD gave any estimate of the actual voter turnout. While the poll panel has placed the total number of eligible voters at 26 million, others estimate that the figure could be higher, at about 29-30 million.

The counting began at the polling stations soon after the voting ended and the results will be announced after further tabulation at the township and divisional levels. No date for the results was set by the poll panel.

Foreign and local observers were not allowed to monitor balloting. Video footage from the junta-organised tour of polling booths showed queues of voters and an orderly process of balloting.

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