RANGOON — The Nov. 8 general election proved a mixed bag for the country’s incumbent state and division chief ministers, with only a handful of the 13 ministers that contested winning their races.
The chief ministers of Shan, Karen and Kachin states, as well as Pegu Division, were the only regional heads to win contests. Maung Maung Ohn, who recently stepped down from his post as Arakan State chief, also won while Rangoon’s Chief Minister Myint Swe did not seek reelection.
In Mon State, the NLD’s Mya Theingi Maw accounted for chief minister Ohn Myint by around 7,000 votes in Mudon Township. In Chin State, chief minister Hong Ngai lost his Mindat Township seat to the NLD’s Tate Htan.
In Mandalay, the NLD’s Khin Maung Htay beat chief minister Ye Myint in a Pyin Oo Lwin constituency heavily populated by military personnel.
NLD candidate Kyaw Swan Yi was also successful in Magwe Division’s Minbu Township, garnering around 36,000 votes, well-ahead of chief minister Phone Maw Shwe, on approximately 12,700 votes.
Thein Aung, chief minister of Irrawaddy Division, also lost convincingly to Aung Kyaw Khaing of the NLD in Ingapu Township.
Tenasserim Division chief minister Myat Ko lost to Ho Pin of the NLD in the local Dawei constituency, while Sagaing Division chief minister Thar Aye was also beaten in Butalin No. 2 by the NLD’s Kyaw Zay Lin.
Upon winning, Kyaw Zay Lin said the party’s success was a reflection of the people’s collective desire for change. He said the Sagaing chief minister had a good name in the township but his association with the ruling party alone was enough to turn voters away.
The ease with which NLD candidates disposed of several ruling party chief ministers mirrored the party’s success across divisional legislatures in the Burman heartlands, including near clean-sweeps in Rangoon, Pegu, Sagaing, Irrawaddy and Mandalay Divisions, and all seats in Tenasserim and Magwe divisional parliaments.
However, Pegu Division’s chief minister Nyan Win achieved a rare ruling party win in the division, beating his NLD opponent, Saw Maung Thein, in the Zigon No. 1 race.
The NLD candidate told The Irrawaddy the party registered some irregularities on election day, including that voters were openly petitioned to vote for the lion of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) at ballot stations in the township.
Other ruling party chief ministers registered wins in ethnic states.
With 11,000 votes, Shan State chief Sao Aung Myat won the state seat of Ywangan over his closest competitor Sai Wunna of the NLD. Kachin State chief minister La John Ngan Hsai won his Tanai No. 1 race.
Former Arakan State chief minister Maung Maung Ohn won in the state seat of Ann No. 1 amid allegations from the NLD that he was helped over the line with a batch of suspect advance votes. His successor, Mya Aung, was not so lucky, losing in the Maungdaw No. 2 constituency to Maung Ohn of the Arakan National Party.
Karen State chief minister Saw Win Htein only recently assumed the role after Zaw Min retired from the post in August. He won his Hpapun No. 2 race; helped with advance votes from local Border Guard Force personnel, according to NLD candidate Saw Zaw Win.
Karenni State chief minister Khin Maung Oo, who resigned alongside four other ruling party ministers in July, ran as an independent in Bawlakhe No. 1, losing to Aye Shwe of the USDP.