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Myanmar

Western countries condemn Myanmar election

Reuters

A series of western countries have refused to accept the results of the Sunday's elections in Myanmar, and three civilians were reportedly killed during a battle between government troops and rebel soldiers.

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"The current figure of people crossing to Thailand is 10,000," said Samart Loyfah, the governor of Thailand's Tak province on the border with Myanmar. He said sporadic fighting continued to be heard over the border.

There have been reports of clashes between ethnic rebels and government soldiers in a town in eastern Myanmar a day after the country's election.

Three civilians were killed by rebel fire in Myawaddy in Karen State, according to an unnamed Myanmar official.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thailand is ready to provide humanitarian assistance for those crossing the border. He said fighting might go on for a while.

"It is possible that it will carry on during the next three months, particularly during the transition from the current government to an elected government," he told reporters.

But even as parties with links to the military look poised to claim victory after Sunday's elections, there has been widespread condemnation of the vote.

The vote is “anything but free and fair”, said US President Barack Obama, whilst Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington would maintain "rigorous sanctions" against the regime while it holds political prisoners, abuses human rights and ignores dialogue with the opposition.

The electoral process was "severely flawed, precluded an inclusive, level playing field, and repressed fundamental freedoms," said Clinton.

Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi is still locked up, and opposition leaders are reporting widespread complaints of intimidation and other irregularities.

Many areas held races uncontested by pro-democracy candidates because of major financial and other hurdles to get on the ballot.

Some have seen the poll as a small step towards democracy after almost five decades of autocratic rule. But with 25 per cent of the seats in parliament reserved for military appointees, the two main pro-junta parties needed to win just 26 percent of the remaining seats to secure a majority.

It is unclear when the results will be announced.

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