By-election held for 19 vacant constituencies

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Teachers volunteer for counting votes at the polling booth at Hlinethaya BEHS-1 in Yangon.

By-elections began across Myanmar yesterday morning for the first time since the NLD Government took office a year ago.
Two million Voters went to the polls to cast their votes yesterday at the voting stations of all 19 vacant constituencies beginning 6 am yesterday.
Unlike the 2015 general elections in which long queues of people were waiting at the stations for their turn, less number of voters showed up at the polling centers this time.
Yangon Region opened 942 polling stations visited by diplomats including US Ambassador Mr. Scot Marciel and local and foreign watchdogs in four townships – Hlaingthaya, Dagon Myothit (Seikkan), Dagon Myothit (East) and Kawhmu—for the Pyithu Hluttaw and seven townships – Kamayut, Kyimyindine, Seikkan, Latha, Hline, Lanmadaw and Ahlone – for the Amyotha Hluttaw No 6 constituency for 1006252 eligible voters. The Yangon Region police force used half of its strength to ensure safety for the by-election,
The Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein cast his vote at a polling station in Ward 10, Kamayut Township, while Union Minister for Information Dr. Pe Myint voted at Ward 4 in the same township and Union Minister for Commerce Dr. Than Myint in Hlinethaya Township.
“Voting was convenient for me as I could draw my ballot in advance. Only a few voters were at the station in the morning. I chose the one whom I believe would serve the country well,” said Daw Aye Myat Mon who cast her vote in Hlainhthaya Township.
A Japanese observer said the by-election could draw less public interest as the number of voters who came to the stations in Latha Township were much smaller than the number of voters who came to the general elections. How the NLD government would solve the economic and ethnic problems and fulfill the public wishes together with its accomplishments during the first year in office was in the public minds, he assumed.
“I chose the person whom I believe would help develop our ward and community. It was a free and fair election. We pinned our hopes on him.” said U Thein Naing who voted in Hline Township.
Another voter Daw Lwin Lwin Khaing said my only hope was the progress the one I had voted for would bring to the best of his ability.
After the closure of polling stations at 4 pm, volunteers started counting and documenting the ballots through valid and invalid vote scanning process.
The results of the by-elections will be announced on 2nd April at the Union Election Commission’s office, said Chairman of the Union Election Commission U Hla Thein.
Kyethee and Mongshu, which did not hold the general election in 2015, also held the 2017 by-elections, said U Hla Thein.

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