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Yangon votes for first time in 60 years

Yangon votes for first time in 60 years
Residents of Myanmar’s commercial hub Yangon went to the polls on Saturday for the first municipal elections in six decades, with voters hoping for change as the city booms, despite knowing little about the candidates or their policies.

The election will be closely watched as a test of the country’s democratic credentials ahead of a landmark nationwide poll slated for November next year. For many the ballot for the Yangon City Development Committee is the first chance to vote under the country’s quasi-civilian government, which replaced outright military rule in 2011.

It is also a rare opportunity to have a say over the future of Myanmar’s biggest city, where residents grumble about runaway construction and soaring rents, worsening traffic, poor sanitation and weak pollution control. “It’s very difficult to have big expectations as this is the first YCDC election for 60 years. But we came here to vote and show our spirit,” Khin Maung Tun, 50, a resident in Thaketa township told AFP.

But curbs on who can vote have enfranchised just 400,000 of the city’s several million residents, while other clauses have strictly controlled who can stand for the YCDC. Just under 300 candidates, among them businessmen, retired civil servants and activists, are competing for 115 positions on the committee, although the top posts will remain largely appointed. 
AFP

AFP

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