NLD to ‘Discipline’ Karenni State Party Heads for Late Candidate Registration

By San Yamin Aung 9 January 2017

RANGOON— The National League for Democracy (NLD) party heads of Karenni State and Hpruso Township will be punished for failing to field a candidate in time, causing the party to lose the chance to compete for a regional seat in upcoming by-elections.

Eighteen candidates from the ruling party have registered with the Union Election Commission (UEC) to contest in the by-elections scheduled for April 1. Meanwhile, main opposition and once-ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) will field 19 candidates.

The NLD’s nominee to run for the regional seat in Karenni State’s Hpruso Township failed to register his candidacy with the district election sub-commission between Nov. 28 and Dec. 7 of 2016.

NLD secretary U Nyan Win told The Irrawaddy on Monday that after a Saturday meeting, the party’s central executive committee (CEC) had decided to reprimand the party’s chairpersons in Karenni State and Hpruso Township over the incident. He added, however, that the CEC had not yet decided on what disciplinary measures would be taken.

“As the party’s heads of the region, they have the responsibility for all the party’s affairs there. They have a duty not to register candidates late. They gave the reason that the commission didn’t inform them that they had to register. But who would have informed them? The commission’s duty is just to announce [the elections],” U Nyan Win said.

NLD Karenni State chairperson Dr.Khin Sithu, who is also a Lower House lawmaker, said the party’s CEC had not yet spoken to her about the issue. As she was serving in Parliament at the time that registration was due, she said she forwarded the documents for the candidate in question to the Hpruso Township head.

“Everyone has responsibilities. But when I contested in the election, no one applied for us [on our behalf]. We ourselves had to register the candidacy. If the CEC takes action, I can’t do anything, as it is their party [decision], whether it is fair or not,” Dr.Khin Sithu said.

With the absence of an NLD candidate,Hpruso voters will choose between candidates from the USDP, the National Progressive Party and the All Nationals’ Democracy Party (Kayah State).

The by-elections will be held in Rangoon, Sagaing and Pegu divisions, as well as in Shan, Karenni, Mon, Chin and Arakan states, in order to fill the 19 vacant seats. The election campaign period will take place from Jan. 30 to March 30.