Burma

NLD Selects 20% Female Candidates for Myanmar’s November Election

By Lei Lei 27 July 2020

Yangon – The National League for Democracy (NLD) will be fielding more female candidates in November’s poll than in previous elections.

Women candidates account for 20 percent of the total — up from about 13 percent in 2015, said director Daw Khin Lay Nge of Phan Tee Eain, an advocacy group for gender equality in Myanmar.

“We should welcome that the NLD is fielding more women candidates. I hope that not only the NLD but also other ethnic parties will be fielding more women candidates,” she said.

She said she is happy that more parties have adopted policies to favor female candidates over their male counterparts. Women have the capacity and what they only lacked in the past was self-confidence, she added.

“[The increase] is partly because men are giving a greater place for women. But at the same time, women have to take an interest in politics. We find women have greater confidence. Women have grown more self-assured and applied for candidacies,” said Daw Khin Lay Nge.

The NLD last week unveiled its candidate list for the general election. The lineup consists largely of the party’s sitting lawmakers and current chief ministers. Of the more than 1,000 candidates listed by the party, 80 percent are sitting lawmakers who won parliamentary seats in 2015.

If other qualifications are similar, the party looks first at ethnicity, then for younger candidates and thirdly for women.

“I am happy that the party leaders have selected me. In the NLD, not only lawmakers but also government officials and party members have to work,” said vice chairwoman of the NLD work committee for Mandalay Region Daw Win Mya Mya, who will contest a Lower House seat in Sintgaing Township in Mandalay Region.

Daw Aye Mya Mya Myo, a Lower House lawmaker for Yangon’s Kyauktan Township and member of Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, said she is satisfied with her performance but there have been constraints.

“Women’s participation was low in the past. There were a lot of difficulties. They want to join politics but there are constraints,” she said.

The NLD will be fielding 43 women candidates in Yangon Region, seven in Mandalay Region, three in Kachin, five in Karen, three in Chin and five in Kayah states.

The NLD has announced that it will contest 1,132 seats — 319 in the Lower House, 162 in the Upper House, 622 seats in regional and state parliaments and 29 ethnic affairs minister positions — in the November election.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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