RANGOON — Political rivals Pyu Lwin and Hla Swe will argue their cases regarding allegations of land confiscation and a counter-defamation suit, respectively, before an election tribunal in Naypyidaw on March 11.
Last August, Pyu Lwin submitted a complaint to the Land Investigation Commission recommending an inquiry into former Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) lawmaker Hla Swe’s alleged land grabs under Burma’s former military regime. He also accused the ex-parliamentarian of bribery, with those claims coming just weeks ahead of the 2015 election’s official campaign period, which kicked off Sept. 8.
Pyu Lwin went on to defeat Hla Swe in Burma’s November general election, ousting the incumbent from his seat representing Magwe Division’s Upper House constituency No. 12.
Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Thursday, Hla Swe repeated previous denials of the allegations. His said his opponent had used misleading information to manipulate voters and weaken his support base.
Hla Swe said he filed the defamation charges against Pyu Lwin, the now-sitting lawmaker for the National League for Democracy (NLD), at the Gangaw police station prior to the election campaign period.
Pyu Lwin denied manipulating voters and said he had concrete evidence proving Hla Swe’s wrongdoings to present to the committee.
The NLD lawmaker told The Irrawaddy that he had received more than 100,000 votes on Nov. 8, compared with 30,000 for his nearest opponent Hla Swe.
Pyu Lwin was one of hundreds of NLD candidates to defeat USDP opponents in the November election, riding a wave of popular support for the party of Aung San Suu Kyi. The NLD won nearly 80 percent of elected seats, allowing it to select Burma’s next president in a parliamentary vote due this month.
Pyu Lwin confirmed that a ruling against him could jeopardize the seat he won in November, adding that tribunal proceedings could take 3-4 months to play out.