Election 2020: The Week in Review
By San Yamin Aung 10 October 2020
YANGON — ‘Election 2020: The Week in Review’ offers a summary of the most important developments related to the 2020 election during the past week — the stories readers should not miss if they want to understand the electoral landscape. This week (Oct.3 to Oct. 9), a pre-election survey claims public trust has increased in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a National League for Democracy (NLD) member in central Myanmar fled his house as petrol bombs landed and the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), People’s Pioneer Party (PPP) and Rose Party stepped up their campaigns.
China detains NLD supporters
Thursday (Oct. 8)
Chinese police detained around 900 NLD supporters in Ruili and Kyegaung for assembling without permission. Migrant workers from Myanmar rallied on Thursday wearing NLD T-shirts and hats only to be detained by the police.
Shan State’s planning and finance minister Soe Nyunt Lwin said Myanmar’s government had asked for understanding from the Ruili authorities as the migrants were gathering out of sadness after losing their chance to vote.
The 901 migrants were freed early on Friday morning but three event organizers will be held in detention for 15 days, the minister added.
Trust rises in Suu Kyi
Monday (Oct. 5)
According to a nationwide pre-election survey conducted by the country’s largest poll monitor, the People’s Alliance for Credible Elections (PACE), public trust in State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has increased since last year.
PACE conducted 2,577 interviews across the country to measure trust in public figures and institutions and to understand their electoral awareness and intention to vote. It said public trust in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was at 79 percent, up from 70 percent last year. Trust in the military declined to 43 percent from 44 percent in 2019.
It reported that only about half of respondents said they “will definitely vote” in the Nov. 8 election. PACE was not able to conduct interviews in some locations in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states due to security and COVID-19 concerns.
Mob attacks NLD member’s house
Saturday (Oct. 3)
An NLD executive committee member in Magwe Region fled his house – in an alleged USDP stronghold – as petrol bombs landed. The incident occurred at around 7:30 pm on Saturday after NLD member U Myint Naing argued with a villager named Ko Ne Win, purportedly over the playing of the party’s campaign song.
U Myint Naing reported that Ko Ne Win came to his house and told him to stop playing the song. He then allegedly attacked the NLD member with a knife, causing a neck injury.
Around 100 relatives and associates of Ko Ne Win gathered and attacked the house. They threw petrol bombs at the property. As the police led U Myint Naing and his family to safety, attackers smashed the windows and door of the house and destroyed vehicles and possessions inside the house.
Some villagers told the media that Ko Ne Win was beaten by three people, including U Myint Naing, during the quarrel and they rioted in response to the violence.
They demanded the arrest of U Myint Naing. Ko Ne Win needed hospital treatment after the incident.
Myaing Township administrator U Thant Zin Khaing said he did not think the attack was about the campaign song as Ko Ne Win was carrying a knife and the attackers were armed with petrol bombs. Twenty people who were allegedly involved in the mob attack had been arrested by Friday.
NLD urges supporters to avoid large events
Saturday (Oct. 3)
The NLD’s central election campaign committee has called on the party’s supporters to halt large gatherings as COVID-19 cases increase. The committee said crowds breach the health ministry’s COVID-19 guidelines and were attracted criticism.
It urged the supporters to comply with COVID-19 preventive measures to avoid infection and to vote for the party on election day. But some NLD supporters have continued to rally since the announcement.
Opposition parties step up campaigning
The military-backed USDP, PPP and the United Democratic Party, which is better known as the Rose Party, stepped up their election campaigns this week in Naypyitaw. Hundreds of supporters of the three parties hit the campaign trail on Wednesday and Thursday, apparently breaching COVID-19 guidelines.
Political gatherings exceeding the Union Election Commission’s limit of 50 people have attracted widespread criticism.
More election-related stories:
On Nov. 8, Myanmar people will vote for those they believe can repair the damage from the military’s disastrous economic, political and social policies over many decades.
Registered voters based in Thailand are taking time off work, traveling overnight and braving COVID-19 restrictions to take part in the Nov. 8 general election.
After the National League for Democracy won 90 percent of the vote in the first democratic election in 30 years, military leaders refused to hand over power in 1990.
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