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CAMPAIGN TRAIL

NLD Tells Rangoon Candidates to Drop the Mic, Pound the Pavement

The National League for Democracy instructs its Rangoon Division candidates not to organize any more campaign rallies and instead to focus on door-to-door canvassing.


RANGOON — The National League for Democracy has instructed its Rangoon Division candidates not to organize any more campaign rallies and instead to focus on door-to-door canvassing, according to party spokesman Nyan Win, who said Wednesday that the time for mass NLD gatherings ahead of Burma’s Nov. 8 general election was “finished.”

The directive applies only to the party’s 149 candidates contesting in the commercial capital and its outlying townships, Nyan Win told The Irrawaddy, one day after meeting with Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC) in Rangoon. Nyan Win said divisional candidates were informed on Tuesday evening following his meeting with the commission, but the NLD spokesman said the two matters were unrelated.

Nyan Win said regional party leaderships in other divisions and states would be allowed to determine their own plans for the remaining 16 days of the election’s campaign period, which began on Sept. 8.

Win Htein, an NLD central committee member, said the decision had been made because door-to door-campaigning was deemed more effective than campaign rallies, rejecting the notion that the strategy shift had anything to do with multiple incidents in which violence or threats of violence have plagued NLD rallies and in some cases forced candidates to cancel planned events.

The indisputable star of the 2015 election campaign period has been NLD chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi, who has drawn thousands of supporters without fail to rallies across the country. She has held three such rallies in Rangoon Division: one on Sept. 21 in Kawhmu Township—the constituency she is seeking re-election to—followed by two stops on Oct. 10, in Hmawbi and Taik Kyi townships.

It was not clear if the NLD edict would also apply to Suu Kyi rallies in the division.