Military-Backed USDP Leaders Defeated by NLD in Myanmar Election
By San Yamin Aung 12 November 2020
YANGON — Senior figures in the military proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) suffered defeats in Sunday’s general election, losing heavily to the National League for Democracy (NLD).
The USDP won around 10 percent of parliamentary seats in the 2015 general election but is now projected to fall below the 10-percent threshold.
While the Union Election Commission (UEC) is yet to finalize all the results, by Thursday morning the NLD had won 399 seats in Union Parliament — more than enough to form a government — while the USDP secured just 28, compared to 41 in 2015.
Disputing its humiliating defeat at the polls, the USDP on Wednesday demanded the UEC hold another election in cooperation with the military.
Vice-chairs U Khin Yi and U Hla Htun, former defense minister U Wai Lwin, ex-foreign minister U Wunna Maung Lwin, ex-agriculture and livestock minister U Myint Hlaing and former vice-chair U Htay Oo were defeated on Sunday. Prominent USDP lawmakers U Maung Myint, U Thaung Aye and Dr. Maung Thin lost their seats to NLD challengers.
USDP vice-chair and former brigadier general U Khin Yi, a former immigration and population minister and national police chief, failed in his bid for a Lower House seat against the NLD’s U Tin Tun Naing in Seikgyikanaungto Township in Yangon Region. The USDP lost all its seats in the township.
However, the party’s chairman U Than Htay, a former brigadier general and minister of energy and rail transport under the USDP administration, managed to win a seat in the military-dominated Zayarthiri Township in Naypyitaw.
He beat the public health specialist Dr. Moe Swe of the NLD, a retired director-general at the Department of Traditional Medicine, but saw the party’s majority fall from 2015. U Than Htay received 36,325 votes compared with Dr. Moe Swe’s 30,965.
Except for his seat, the NLD is set to sweep the capital.
The USDP’s former defense minister, U Wai Lwin, lost to his old opponent, the poet and writer U Yi Mon of the NLD again in Naypyitaw’s Pobbathiri Township. The former lieutenant general resigned from the military to run for Parliament ahead of the 2015 general election only to lose to U Yi Mon for the first time.
A former USDP foreign minister, U Wunna Maung Lwin, was defeated by the NLD’s U Kyaw Htwe in Zabuthiri in a Lower House contest. Both U Wai Lwin and U Wunna Maung Lwin, members of the USDP’s central executive committee, appealed to voters’ fear of foreign intrusion and loss of national identity ahead of the election.
In Naypyitaw’s Dekkhinathiri Township, retired Lt-Gen Myint Hlaing, who was agriculture minister, lost to his old opponent, U Thant Zin Htun, of the NLD, who beat him in 2015.
Another vice-chair U Hla Tun, who is a retired major general and former President’s Office minister, lost a Lower House seat in Kyaukpadaung Township, Mandalay Region, where the NLD saw sweeping victories.
Among the USDP candidates defeated by the NLD in the region are lawmakers Dr. Maung Thin of Meiktila and U Thaung Aye of Pyawbwe. U Maung Myint of Mingin Township in Sagaing Region also lost his seat.
Dr. Maung Thin of the USDP, a retired university rector, lost to Dr. Sint Soe of the NLD, who is also a retired university rector, by a large margin of 14,125. U Thaung Aye, a former lieutenant general, lost to the NLD by 20,000 votes.
USDP lawmaker U Maung Myint, a former industry minister, was beaten by deputy construction minister U Kyaw Lin of the NLD by 11,589 votes.
The lawmaker is facing complaints that he tried to stir up racial and religious grievances during the campaign. He is accused of falsely claiming that the NLD put forward 42 Muslim candidates.
Dr. Maung Thin, U Thaung Aye and U Maung Myint have all said they reject the results and will raise objections, claiming irregularities in voting and advance votes.
U Thaung Aye claimed there was voter impersonation and under-18 voters among other election fraud. He claimed that some businesses paid employees to vote for the NLD.
“There were many irregularities. So I have filed complaints and that’s why I haven’t signed Form 19 [showing the aggregated results of individual polling stations and advance votes]. The electoral body needs to explain,” said U Thaung Aye.
Another prominent USDP casualty is U Htay Oo, a retired general and former party vice-chairman. He sought a Lower House seat in the Irrawaddy Delta’s Hinthada Township, where he was defeated in 2015.
Meanwhile, former USDP President’s Office minister U Soe Thane retained his Lower House seat in Bawlakhe Township, Kayah State.
U Soe Thane, another retired general, won an Upper House seat as an independent in the same constituency as in 2015, although his opponents accuse him of buying votes with gifts for constituents.
“As party leader, I have responsibility for the outcome. But the results are not yet finalized,” USDP chair U Than Htay said in a video message on Tuesday. He added that the legitimacy of the outcome remained in dispute and that the party would mount a legal challenge to establish whether the results were fair and lawful.
The UEC said it would finalize the election results this week.
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