၂၀၁၅ ေရြးေကာက္ပြဲ Irrawaddy.org
Economy

Political Parties Warned to Stay Away from Protests, Strikes

Burma's Union Election Commission tells representatives of five political parties not to get involved in power shortage protests and labor strikes around the country.


Burma’s Union Election Commission (EC) summoned leaders of five political parties to Naypyidaw on Tuesday to warn them to stay away from power shortage protests and labor strikes taking place around the country.

According to today’s edition of the state-run Kyemon newspaper, EC Chairman Tin Aye said at the meeting that the commission had received reports of several parties’ involvement in the mass actions that started earlier this month.

The five parties—the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, the main opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), the National Democratic Force (NDF), the Union of Myanmar Federation of National Politics and the 88 Generation Student Youths (Union of Myanmar)—are among 17 registered political parties in Burma.

“The EC said that it has seen evidence that several parties are involved in the current situation,” said NLD spokesperson Ohn Kyaing. “We were told that it will only make matters worse if we take part without being aware of all the facts.”

During the meeting, a deputy labor minister briefed the party representatives on official efforts to resolve a series of labor disputes in Rangoon and other areas, while a deputy minister from the Ministry of Electrical Power explained the reasons for the power shortages that continue to plague much of Burma.

According to Soe Win, the vice chairman of the NDF and a Lower House MP for Rangoon’s Sanchaung constituency, his party and the NLD were both accused of interfering in efforts to end strikes in the Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone, located on the outskirts of Burma’s largest city.

“The deputy labor minister said that in 13 out of 20 factories, workers had agreed to go back to work, but among the remaining factories, four could not reach agreements because of the involvement of two parties—namely, the NLD and the NDF,” Soe Win told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday.

The parties were also reminded that under Burma’s political party registration laws, political parties are not permitted to lead or back public protests.

“The political parties’ members at the township level have already been warned by the authorities not to take part in such activities,” said NDF leader Khin Maung Swe.

Ohn Kyaing, meanwhile, said that the NLD always supports peaceful protests as a matter of principle, but denied that the party is actively participating in the recent wave of unrest.

“The NLD is not telling others what to do. We are too busy now with our own party’s reform process and recruiting new party members,” he said.

He added that the government should inform the public of the country’s laws through the state-run media, rather than singling out a few parties.