Myanmar election commission has just announced areas where elections will be cancelled for security reasons. Here’s a quick analysis. Rakhine State is the big news; this could be a serious conflict flashpoint. 1/7…
RAKHINE: Major cancellations, with authorities taking a maximalist approach that will anger Rakhine people and parties. 9 townships (out of 17) totally cancelled. 4 more partially cancelled (Sittwe, Kyaukpyu, Ann, Toungup). Only 4 unaffected (Gwa, Thandwe, Munaung, Ramree). 2/7
All of Arakan National Party safe seats totally cancelled except Sittwe. 3 of 4 townships currently held by NLD unaffected by cancellations. This tilts the election in Rakhine decisively in favour of NLD. While there are valid security concerns, will be very controversial. 3/7
Recall that unknown gunmen, likely linked to Arakan Army, already kidnapped 3 NLD candidates in the NLD-held township of Toungup this week. Possible that AA will now try to prevent voting in NLD stronghold of southern Rakhine. Worrying 23 days ahead. 4/7…
Also unprecedented, some urban wards cancelled (in Kyaukpyu, Toungup, Ann towns) In 2010/2015 all partial cancellations were rural villages. That some wards in Ann town have been deemed unsafe for elections is striking - this town is HQ of military’s powerful Western Command! 5/7
SHAN: As expected, the 4 UWSA-controlled townships plus Mongla all totally cancelled. Authorities can’t enter these areas, hence no voter lists. Also, Mongkaung tsp cancelled (central Shan, SSPP area). Plenty of other partial cancellations in Shan. 6/7
Also partial cancellations in Kachin, Kayin, Bago, Mon. No word yet on Chin, where significant cancellations expected in Paletwa. 7/7

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More from @rshorsey

18 Oct
Controversy & claims of bias after Myanmar election commission declined (so far) to cancel elections in western Myanmar’s most conflict affected township, Paletwa. Strange decision when polls have been cancelled in most of Rakhine State, even places with no fighting. Why? 1/6
It looks bad for the election commission (under the constitution, a non-independent body appointed by the sitting president) because nearly all cancelled seats in Rakhine were held by ethnic opposition party ANP. Whereas all 5 seats in Paletwa are held by the NLD. What gives? 2/6
First, while decision to cancel most of Rakhine is controversial & inflammatory, it’s not necessarily unfounded. Even in areas of Rakhine with no fighting, police/govt officials often attacked & in fear of lives. Last week 3 NLD candidates kidnapped at gunpoint in “safe” area 3/6
Read 6 tweets
4 Jul
A thread about the tragic loss of life in Myanmar’s Phakant jade mines. So far, 172 bodies have been recovered; dozens more are missing. While this is the most deadly single incident, deaths of informal “jade pickers” happen year after year. What will it take to change this? 1/14
The govt has announced the formation of an “investigation body” to look into the incident, find who was to blame, arrange compensation and “recommend action plans regarding security” to prevent future deaths. That final point on security is telling, and worrying... 2/14
It suggestes an assumption, also conveyed by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, that the blame lies with the deceased, because they were working illegally and in defiance of mine closure orders. But that is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of mining at Phakant. 3/14
Read 16 tweets

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