YANGON — Members of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) and opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) will contest the March 31 municipal elections in Yangon.
A total 105 seats will be up for grabs — three in each of the city’s 33 townships and six for the executive board of the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).
The NLD will field 93 candidates for the poll. It will run for all open seats on the YCDC executive board and in all the townships except Kyimyindaing, U Soe Win Oo, vice chairman of the party’s Yangon chapter, told The Irrawaddy.
He said the candidates were selected mainly based on their educational qualifications.
“As they will be responsible for management, it is important that they are educated and have experience,” U Soe Win Oo said.
“For some townships, we’ve selected those who are not university graduate, especially when they are popular with local constituents and have proven management skills or there is someone with good management skills in the township chapter,” he said. “Otherwise, the candidate must be at least a graduate.”
The deadline for submitting applications to contest the elections was Monday. The list of qualified candidates will be announced in the second week of February.
The USDP will field 93 candidates for the poll. It will also run for all open seats on the YCDC executive board and all the townships except Thigangyun, said U Kyaw Soe, secretary of the party’s Yangon chapter.
“We selected only those who have a strong desire to develop their townships. As for their educational qualifications, the higher the better. But because we assume that those who have matriculated [from secondary school] are able to promote development, we also selected them. However, most of the candidates are [university] graduates,” he said.
The election campaign period runs from Feb. 28 through March. 29.
There has been some criticism of the Yangon Election Commission’s decision to allow candidates to use their party logos while campaigning.
Under the new YCDC Law, one of the six elected members on the YCDC executive board will become the city’s vice mayor.
In the 2014 municipal elections, only one person per household was allowed to cast a ballot. This time, everyone over the age of 18 will be allowed to vote.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.