Voting begins in Burma referendumFrom correspondents in Rangoon
May 10, 2008 10:23am
Article from: Agence France-PresseFont size: + -
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POLLING stations have opened in parts of cyclone-hit Burma, as the military regime asks voters to approve a new constitution just one week after tens of thousands of people died in the storm.
The military delayed the vote for two weeks in the areas hardest-hit by Cyclone Nargis, including in the main city and former capital of Rangoon.
But the ruling generals pushed ahead with the referendum in other parts of the country, with polling stations in some places open by 6.15am local time (9.45am AEST).
The referendum is the first vote in Burma since 1990, when detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi led her National League to Democracy (NLD) to a landslide victory in elections, a result the junta has never recognised.
The regime says the constitution will clear the way for democratic elections in two years, but the NLD says it will entrench military rule and has urged voters to reject the charter.
The junta has ignored the NLD's calls to delay the balloting and focus instead on helping the 1.5 million people still in desperate need of aid in the wake of the cyclone.
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