Chins in Rangoon Indifferent to Polls
2 November 2010: Many ethnic Chins residing in the former capital Rangoon are disinterested in Burma’s elections to be held this Sunday for reasons ranging from complete apathy for the electoral process, to fear of possible violence during the elections.
“Chin people, especially the youths, are completely indifferent to the electoral process here in Rangoon. The majority of them are undecided about whether to vote at all, not to mention which party they’d vote for.” says one Chin youth activist.
“Many people are afraid of possible violence at the polling stations, and therefore, are reluctant about going to the polls. But people here are generally disinterested,” he says.
Rumors have been floating around Burma’s largest city for some time about another people’s uprising around the election time.
“We have been stocking up food supplies in preparation for such a possibility,” says a Chin mother of three living in Rangoon.
The lack of public confidence in the electoral process might explain the low interest in politics among the youths. Many people think that the election results have been predetermined with the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) winning in a landslide.
Lately, there have been concerns that many ethnic Chins might be disenfranchised in the November 7 elections on the basis that they do not have household registration in Rangoon. Voters’ registration is prepared according to household registration documents, meaning that a person could only vote in the locality in which he or she has household registration.