NLD Sues USDP’s By-Election Winner in Yangon over Bribery Claim

By Htun Htun 19 November 2018

YANGON—A former National League for Democracy (NLD) candidate is suing the opposition party candidate who beat him in the recent by-election in Yangon’s Seikkan Township for breaching the electoral law.

In the Nov. 3 by-election, U Nay Myo Aung of the main opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) beat the NLD’s U Than Htike Aung in Seikkan, a constituency the ruling party won in the 2015 general election.

On Saturday, U Than Htike Aung’s campaign manager U Ye Min Hein filed a case against U Nay Myo Aung and other two USDP members under Article 58 (A) of the State and Regional Electoral Law at Seikkan Township Police Station. The plaintiff claims the USDP candidate mediated a micro-loan scheme between voters from his constituency and a finance company prior to the by-election.

Article 58 (A) of the law prohibits candidates from providing people with money, food, job opportunities or other favors in exchange for votes.

The defendants face one year in prison in found guilty. Additionally, the by-election result in the constituency would be canceled. U Nay Myo Aung’s alleged accomplices are his campaign manager Daw Toe Toe Lwin and May Htut Microfinance Company director U Lin Aung, as well as the USDP’s chairman in Yangon.

U Than Htike Aung told The Irrawaddy that the lawsuit was motivated not by his loss in the by-election but by his desire for a “free and fair election.”

“We learned that such money-related irregularities were going on even before the by-election. We knew it was against the law. We are only able to file the case now because it took us time to gather evidence,” he said.

Neither the USDP candidate nor the party’s spokesperson, U Nandar Hla Myint, were available for comment on Monday afternoon.

According to the 2014 Census, Seikkan Township has a population of fewer than 3,000, mostly made up of police, dockers and their families. The valid voter list for the constituency for the by-election contained less than 1,500 names.

The USDP candidate won the Nov. 3 poll in the constituency with 515 votes to the NLD’s 365.