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Southeast Asia, explained

Myanmar elections monitoring 2012 02 22Enlarge
A woman in Myanmar awaits the arrival of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Theinni township, on the outskirts of Lashio on March 18, 2012. (SOE THAN WIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Just 10 days before Myanmar's highly anticipated election -- the fast-changing country's first shot at legit polls in decades -- the government has agreed to let monitors from the US and neighboring countries watch over the voting, the AP reports.

This is hardly a surprise.

A primary function of the election, it seems, is to prove to the world that fair elections can be held in Myanmar (formerly Burma) so that Western governments can remove harsh sanctions with a clean conscience. Forbidding election monitors from offering their seal of approval would undermine that goal.

The good news is that the election will probably place one of the world's most beloved ex-political prisoners, Aung Sun Suu Kyi, in parliament where she belongs. (Her 1990 election to the prime minister's seat was voided by the army.) That moment will resonate strongly inside Myanmar and around the world.

But it's important to remember that the vote has no chance of radically upending the status quo. The elections will turn over less than 10 percent of the former pariah's fledgling parliament, one-fourth of which is stacked with military appointees.

 

http://www.globalpost.com/globalpost-blogs/southeast-asia/myanmar-elections-monitors

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