NAYPYITAW—A Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) spokesperson has raised concerns about the recent circulation on social media of photos of 2020 election campaign stickers featuring pictures of State Counselor and National League for Democracy chairwoman Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
“As these campaign stickers feature pictures of the State Counselor, I would like to ask if the other side, the rival party, is stealing a march by positioning themselves ahead of the starting line,” USDP spokesperson U Thein Tun Oo told The Irrawaddy.
Likening the 2020 general election to a race, he said all competitors must leave the starting line together to ensure the poll is free and fair. However, the ruling party is jumping the gun, as the race has not yet started, he said.
The Union Election Commission (UEC) is responsible for determining whether or not the stickers are in accordance with the law, the spokesman said, adding that the USDP, if necessary, will respond in line with the law.
Dr. Soe Win Oo, the vice chairman of the NLD’s Yangon Region chapter, denied the party had distributed the stickers, suggesting party supporters may have done so, or even a particular organization looking to create trouble for the party.
“The party has not officially issued any instructions regarding the election campaign. We are clear [on this issue], and have not engaged in any campaign activities,” he told The Irrawaddy.
The stickers spreading on social media are generally created in two designs—one featuring a picture of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi accompanied by text reading “final fight” and “2020”; and another featuring a red man throwing a green man to the ground, with a caption reading “K.O.” and “2020”.
Red is the color of the NLD party flag; green is the color of the USDP.
“Isn’t the [slogan] ‘final fight’ on the sticker very hostile, representing a direct challenge? Doesn’t the choice of such words undermine stability and the rule of law in the country?” said U Thein Tun.
UEC spokesperson U Myint Naing said the commission had not yet seen the photos of the stickers.
“It is difficult to say [whether they are legal], as they are posted on Facebook. We haven’t seen them, and therefore have no comment,” U Myint Naing said.
At a meeting to discuss next year’s general election attended by 84 political parties in August, UEC chairman U Hla Thein said the commission intends to ensure next year’s poll will be a perfect example of a free and fair election.
According to the UEC, there are 95 political parties in Myanmar. The next general election is scheduled for November 2020.
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