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CAMPAIGN TRAIL

NLD Accuses Ruling Party of ‘Bribery’ on Campaign Season’s Eve

Burma’s main opposition party accuses its primary opponent in the Nov. 8 general election, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, of having engaged in vote-buying.


RANGOON — Burma’s main opposition party lodged a complaint with the country’s electoral commission on Monday, accusing its primary opponent in the Nov. 8 general election, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), of having engaged in vote-buying.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) alleges that the infraction took place in Naypyidaw’s Dekkhinathiri Township ahead of an official campaign period that kicks off on Tuesday.

Myint Hlaing, minister for agriculture and irrigation, who will contest a Lower House seat from Dekkhinathiri Township representing the USDP, and Kyaw Win, an independent candidate from Mandalay Division and a former director general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, are accused of seeking to win voters’ favor by offering them gifts.

Than Than Soe, election agent of the NLD’s Dekkhinathiri Lower House candidate Thant Zin Tun, said Kyaw Win had distributed umbrellas to residents in the township on Sept. 4 that included the script, “Let’s vote for U Myint Hlaing, who will really work for us. By the people, for the people, Dekkhinathiri Township.”

“We went to the police station on Sunday to report the case and to sue them because they campaigned by giving bribes,” she said, adding that police told the party to file its complaint first with the Union Election Commission (UEC).

The NLD candidate’s agent said she sent the complaint letter to the Naypyidaw-based UEC on Monday, and also sent copies to the township- and district-level election subcommissions. A UEC tribunal will hear the complaint and rule on whether the case should be handled by police or the election commission.

Kyaw Min Zaw, a UEC officer in Naypyidaw District, confirmed that the commission had received the complaint from the NLD, which is also subject to a counter-allegation from Kyaw Win, who has lodged a complaint with the UEC accusing the opposition party of having prematurely kicked off campaigning ahead of Sept. 8.

In the Dekkhinathiri Township constituency, three parties—the NLD, USDP and National Unity Party (NUP)—will contest for its Lower House seat.

According to local media, Min Thu, chairman of the NLD branch in Naypyidaw District, said at a press conference on Saturday that the party was also preparing to file complaints against two retired military generals who will contest seats in Naypyidaw for the USDP, also alleging early campaigning.

The accused, Hla Htay Win and Wai Lwin, previously served as the military’s chief of general staff and defense minister, respectively.

Additional reporting by Zue Zue.