For a people who languished in isolation from the world during a half century of military rule, the Myanmar election campaign that kicked off on Tuesday marks the launch of an unprecedented experiment in ballot box democracy.
But as billboards were unveiled, brochures distributed and the first campaign speeches delivered, for one significant proportion of the population the experience is proving hollow.
Myanmar Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during her 'Election Awareness Tour' in Ho-Pong township, Myanmar on Sunday.
Myanmar Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during her 'Election Awareness Tour' in Ho-Pong township, Myanmar on Sunday. Photo: AP
Among some 6200 candidates running for office for 92 parties, it seems certain that there will be not a single candidate from the Muslim population, the second largest religious grouping in the predominantly Buddhist country.
In the troubled Rakhine region, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been denied the right even to cast ballots after being forced to return their government identity cards.
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