Two MPs from the National League for Democracy (NLD) have won arbitration hearings over their Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) rivals in Naypyidaw, after the Union Election Commission (UEC) dismissed accusations against them of irregularities during the by-election campaign earlier this year.
A total of four NLD candidates—Khin Maung Thein from Sagaing; Tin Tin Yi from Tenasserim’s Kyunsu constituency; Phyoe Min Thein from Rangoon’s Hlaeku constituency; and Phyu Phyu Thin, the representative for Rangoon’s Mingalar Taung Nyunt constituency—were sued by their USDP counterparts after winning seats in the April 1 polls, an election in which the NLD won 43 out of the 44 constituencies it contested.
The USDP candidates complained of a variety of electoral irregularities and sued the elected NLD MPs; however, the UEC found their accusations unsubstantiated and trivial.
A verdict on Tuesday at the UEC office in the Burmese capital found that Phyu Phyu Thin should receive 500,000 kyat (US $570) in costs and compensation from her rival, the USDP’s Lae Lae Aye, whose charges were declared unfounded.
“The Union Election Commission said they found no electoral irregularities at the time of the by-election campaign,” said Phyu Phyu Thin, speaking to The Irrawaddy on Wednesday after the verdict.
“The commission said the by-election was free and fair, that the allegations are not true, and that the plaintiff must pay me 500,000 kyat,” she said.
Last week, Khin Maung Thein won a similar case and was awarded the same compensation. The cases of the two other NLD MPs are still proceeding. A final hearing on Tin Tin Yi’s case is due on Thursday, while Phyo Min Thein’s case is expected to be concluded by the end of this month.
Phyu Phyu Thin said she counter-sued her rival immediately after the charges against her were dropped, and she was awarded compensation the same day.
Similar cases were taken to the Election Commission in the wake of Burma’s last general election in November 2010 when the USDP won a majority of seats in an election that Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD boycotted. However, none of the plaintiffs won cases that time.
Parliamentarian Phyu Phyu Thin, a former prisoner of conscience and social activist, has led a program to provide healthcare to HIV/AIDS victims and children in Burma since 2002.