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CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Down But Not Out: Shwe Mann Hits the Campaign Trail

A month after his ouster as chairman of the ruling party, Union Parliament speaker Shwe Mann hit the campaign trail in Pegu’s Phyu Township on Friday.


A month after his ouster as chairman of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, Union Parliament speaker Shwe Mann hit the campaign trail on Friday, appearing in his hometown of Phyu in Pegu Division, the constituency he is contesting in the Nov. 8 general election.

Shwe Mann will meet with members of the public over the weekend and has begun sharing campaign materials over Facebook.

Campaign fliers shared online outline his personal information, including his military career, and describe his political successes. Pictures of the parliamentary speaker show him meeting with the public and on foreign trips.

According to a staffer connected to the former ruling party chairman, Shwe Mann will travel through Phyu Township from Friday until Sunday.

Shwe Mann successfully contested Naypyidaw’s Zeyathiri constituency in the last general election in 2010 and served as speaker of the Lower House of Parliament. He took over the additional role of Union Parliament speaker, which is rotated between the speakers of the two chambers every two and a half years, in 2013.

The incumbent parliamentary speaker will compete against candidates from Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, the National Democratic Front, the National Unity Party, the Myanmar Farmers Development Party, as well as independent candidates, for the Lower House seat.

Than Nyunt, the NLD’s candidate for Phyu constituency, told The Irrawaddy that he will begin campaigning from Saturday.

“We do not have as much money or power as my rival Thura Shwe Mann, but we mobilize the public, especially in villages, providing a basic awareness of democracy and human rights that we were not entitled to in the past five decades,” he said.

Than Nyunt, who is a resident of Phyu and chairman of the NLD’s branch office, said he was confident that the rural residents in all 76 village tracts of the township would favor him over the prominent USDP figure.

NLD party patron Tin Oo has been in Pegu Division since Wednesday to meet NLD electoral candidates, including Than Nyunt on Friday.

In Pegu Division, other ruling party heavyweights including current divisional chief minister Nyan Win and incumbent vice president Nyan Tun will contest seats.

The former will contest for the local parliament in Zigon Township, while the latter will compete for the same constituency in the country’s Lower House of Parliament.