The world's press reports that political transformations underway in Burma remain much of a mystery and the word "light" can only be applied to the turnout in Sunday’s elections. The vote was the first in 20 years. Foreign journalists and observers were kept away. That’s the focus in today’s international press review: MONDAY, 8TH NOVEMBER 2010
The International Herald Tribune leads with a photo showing three young people on the steps of a voting station in Rangoon looking forlorn. The paper reports voting centres were largely empty. Under the headline, “Largest city quiet as Myanmar votes”, it quotes one elector saying he didn’t vote because “Auntie Suu” said not too. Burma’s pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace prize laureate, had called for a boycott.
The Bangkok Post headlines: "Fear and loathing at the polls". It also says turnout was “light” and that “fear, indecision and confusion” marked the vote. The Thai paper said there were no long queues as in 1990. That was when the last election was held. Aung San Suu Kyi won the vote as leader of the National League for Democracy.
They say the main reason for that is because Thailand is Burma’s top trade and investment partner but they describe that position as “short-sighted”, pointing out that violence on the Thai-Burma border could put Thai investments at risk.
The Independent, in an analysis, says: “The only sure outcome: Burma’s old generals will keep clinging on”. It says that while Burma is electing MPs, real power will lie with a new institution - the National Defence and Security Council - run by the military.
The Sydney Morning Herald says Qantas’s A380s won’t be flying as soon as had been hoped. The paper reports “slight anomalies” have been found on three Qantas A380 engines. That’s bad news for the airline, passengers, and also Airbus that makes the plane, as well as Rolls Royce which makes the engines. The paper’s travel blog leads: “If it ain’t Boeing, I’m not going” …. It says Qantas is going to extraordinary lengths to ensure no repeat of last Thursday’s “uncontained engine failure” and that the investigation into the Qantas A380s could be one of the most complex detective stories ever in aviation.
Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is off the front pages in Italy for once. His main rival, Gianfranco Fini, gets all the attention. He’s called for Berlusconi to quit following the latest sex scandal embroiling the premier. Berlusconi’s reply to Fini? « I‘m not quitting ». The paper says Italy is veering towards a major political crisis. It quotes one politician saying Berlusconi can camp out in his office, the Palazzo Chigi, as Saddam Hussein did in his palace but the pressure now is different.
"Il Giornale" also focusses on Fini with the headline: "L’ultima raffica di Fini". Fini’s latest volley in the battle for power. And asks whether Fini’s demand for Berlusconi to go is “a bomb” or “a firecracker”.
Still in Italy, Sunday’s edition of "Il Messagero" reported on a fake priest who gave confession and held mass for 20 years in a village near Padua in northern Italy. The man – “Father Tommaso” - is 84. He was only found out when he fell ill and a replacement was sent from Rome. The man – Italo Gallieni – never celebrated any weddings in the village. That would have led to paper work that could have caught him out. To fend off press curiosity about how he did it, he has asked to be “left in peace”.