Burma Votes Amid Cyclone Chaos

Junta ignores calls to delay vote and focus on helping cyclone victims
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2008 6:49 AM CDT
Burma Votes Amid Cyclone Chaos
In this image provided by the German Relief organizations association 'Aktion Deutschland Hilft', a man cuts the trunk of a fallen tree in the city of Yangon, Myanmar, Thursday, May 8, 2008.    (AP Photo/Aktion Deutschland Hilft, HO)

Burma plowed ahead with a referendum on its constitution today despite cyclone devastation that has left much of the country in ruins, AFP reports. The junta has postponed the vote for two weeks in the worst-hit areas, including the capital and the Irrawaddy delta, where hundreds of thousands have been left starving and homeless, with aid still only trickling in.

Burma hasn't voted since 1990, when, in a result the junta refused to accept, Aung San Suu Kyi was elected leader. Her party is urging voters to reject the constitution, which the regime says will clear the way for new elections in two years, and critics say will reinforce military rule. The opposition is barred from speaking or leafleting. Aid agencies and human rights groups slammed the generals' decision to go ahead with the vote and to continue barring foreign aid workers. (More Cyclone Nargis stories.)

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