Complaint Filed Against Yangon’s Newly-Elected Vice Mayor

By Thazin Hlaing 30 May 2019

YANGON—The Yangon city municipality election commission has directly reported a complaint against Yangon Vice Mayor U Soe Lwin to the Yangon Region chief minister, according to commission chair U Aung Khaing.

U Khin Hlaing, a rival candidate who lost to U Soe Lwin in the March 31 municipal poll in Constituency 3, filed a complaint against him, accusing him of not meeting the eligibility criteria to stand for the poll.

“We have submitted the complaint to the Union Attorney-General’s Office, but it has not replied, and we therefore have directly reported it to the Yangon Region chief minister. Our commission is not authorized to make direct contact with the Union Attorney-General,” said U Aung Khaing.

The commission sought legal advice from the Union Attorney-General’s Office regarding the case in April, but as it hasn’t made a reply yet, the commission directly reported it to the Yangon Region chief minister on May 21. However, they still have not received any response.

“If the complaint is simple, we can set up a tribunal and deliver a ruling by ourselves. But the complaint was filed under 2008 Constitution’s electoral law and political parties registration law, so it is out of the scope of our authority,” he explained.

U Soe Lwin, a 65-year-old engineering graduate, who won a seat on the 11-member executive board of the Yangon municipality as a candidate for the National League for Democracy in the March 31 election was voted deputy mayor of Yangon, a new position created by a newly-implemented municipal law.

The Sanchaung Township Court in November 2018 found U Soe Lwin guilty of using offensive language and making threats in a brawl with his neighbors over fencing in a parking area at his house.

The court ordered him to pay a fine of 10,000 kyats under Article 294 (b) for uttering obscene words in or near any public place, and to pay a fine of 30,000 kyats or serve three months in prison for criminal intimidation under Article 506.

Violation of Article 294 (b) is categorized as an offence affecting public decency and morals in Chapter 14 of the Penal Code.

Article 28 of the Yangon municipal election by-law states that those who have been punished for offences related to public morals are not eligible to register or get elected as candidates.

U Soe Lwin responded that action has not been taken against him because his offence is not considered to be in relation to violating public morals. “If it amounts to an offence, action should have been taken against me by now,” he told The Irrawaddy.

The Yangon municipal election commission is set to dissolve on Friday, but will wait for instruction from the Yangon regional government, on how to handle the complaint.

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