September 17, 2015 / 9:40 PM / in 3 years

U.S. says concerned over barring of candidates in Myanmar vote

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday expressed concern over reports that 100 mostly Muslim candidates in Myanmar’s Nov. 8 general election have been disqualified and called on the authorities in the Southeast Asian country to address its concerns.

A boy waves the National League for Democracy (NLD) party's flag during Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's speech as she campaigns for the upcoming general election, in Loikaw capital city of Kayah state September 11, 2015. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement about half of the candidates were rejected based on questions about their citizenship.

“The move to disqualify some 100 candidates, through an opaque and discriminatory process, risks undermining the confidence of the Burmese people and the international community in these elections,” Kirby said.

“We urge the Burmese authorities to redouble their efforts to address these concerns and ensure that the upcoming elections constitute a step forward for the country,” he added.

The November poll will be Myanmar’s first since military rules ended in 2011. Washington has said it is important for continued U.S. support that the election marks progress in the country’s fledgling democracy.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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