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Boycotts expected in Myanmar vote

YANGON, Myanmar, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- General elections scheduled for November in Myanmar are a "sham" and pro-reform groups should stay away, an opposition leader said.

Myanmar is gearing up for general elections next month that it says moves the country along a path toward civilian leadership. The military, however, is guaranteed a sizable portion of the seats in parliament, leading observers to question the claims from military leaders.

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The military junta disbanded several parties ahead of the election, meaning several ethnic groups aren't represented at the polls. Others, The Wall Street Journal reports, are calling for a general boycott of the election because they don't believe the vote will be transparent.

Aye Kyaw, a chairman of a party affiliated with the opposition National League for Democracy, said there is no point taking part in the military's latest experiment.

"It's going to be a sham election, so we're trying to get that message out," he was quoted as saying. "People should stay away from the polling stations."

Nyan Win, the country's foreign minister, told the U.N. General Assembly, that there were 37 political parties from different ethnic groups competing in the election.

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"Such a large participation made it crystal clear that the elections become virtually inclusive," he said last month.

Analysts told the Journal, however, that the diverse turnout expected by the military junta was optimistic.

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