Elections in Burma are now under way and an Australian team has joined more than 150 international observers to monitor elections in Burma, Australia's Foreign Minister, Bob Carr said today.
Senator Carr said Australia has sent a team of five people including three journalists, an officer from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and an officer from the Australian Electoral Commission.
"Polling has opened in Burma and more than 170 candidates from 17 political parties and independents are contesting 45 seats.
"Australia, the USA, ASEAN and European countries have sent observer teams to monitor the conduct of these elections.
"With Australia's Ambassador to Burma, Bronte Moules, the observer team will visit polling places in and outside of Rangoon as part of the effort to ensure the elections in Burma are free and fair.
"The Australian Government will be watching the conduct of these elections very closely.
"If the elections are acceptable, and this is the assessment of independent observers and opposition parties including Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, then Australia will be prepared to ease sanctions.
"The results may take several days to finalise however we remain optimistic that the elections will be fairly conducted," Senator Carr said.
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