RANGOON — On the final day of campaigning ahead of Sunday’s general election, a senior figure in Burma’s ruling party took aim at recent comments made by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and talked up the party’s electoral fortunes.
Addressing several thousand supporters at a rally in Rangoon’s Thingangyun Township on Friday, Nada Kyaw Zwa, a central executive committee member of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), told supporters that Sunday’s poll would herald the “success of the green,” the background color of the ruling party’s banner.
“I’m sure that we will win on Nov. 8. So we will no longer use the phrase ‘we will win.’ Let me tell you in advance that that we have won,” he said.
During Nada Kyaw Zwa’s nearly 20-minute speech, he also addressed comments made by Aung San Suu Kyi at a press conference in Rangoon on Thursday that she would be “above the president” in a National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government.
“In a household, a husband is in charge. In a country, a President is above any other position. The Constitution says the same. So, is there anyone else who should be above the president?” he asked.
Called “A Public Meeting for Electoral Victory,” Friday’s rally was attended by USDP members and supporters from across Rangoon Division. However, many said they were summoned to join the event, while others who were not party members admitted they received inducements to attend.
“I don’t know about politics. My brother-in-law who is the village USDP chairman asked me to join the event today. I got 1,500 kyat for lunch,” said Min Lwin from Htantabin Township in northern Rangoon Division.
Wai Yan, a construction worker from Seikgyikanaungto Township, attended the rally to accompany his daughter who was a party member. “My relatives are USDP members too,” he said.
Asked which party he would vote for on Sunday, Wai Yan said he was undecided.
“Whoever comes to power, the thing I have learned is if you don’t work, you will have nothing to eat. That is the most important thing for our grassroots people,” he said.
The ruling party was also making last-ditch efforts in the capital on Friday, as a number of former military strongmen addressed their constituencies for the last time before Sunday’s polls.
Thousands turned out in townships throughout the territory for candidates including retired Burma Army Chief of General Staffs Hla Htay Win and former Lt-Gen Wai Lwin, both running for the Lower House of Parliament.
Campaigning on a mantra of demonstrated reform, USDP candidates sent a uniform message that change was the achievement of the government under President Thein Sein.
It was unclear how much support the USDP actually had, however, as a number of attendees told The Irrawaddy that the rallies were compulsory. Win Myint of Thanpayar explained that every village in Pobbathiri Township was required to send 25 people.