Rumblings of Electoral Support Take Shape in Thein Sein’s Native Township

By Salai Thant Zin 21 July 2015

PATHEIN — Residents of Thein Sein’s home township of Ngapudaw in the Irrawaddy delta reportedly called on the president to contest the country’s upcoming general election during the visit of a union minister, according to local supporters.

A number of locals voiced their support for Thein Sein to vie for the Ngapudaw constituency in the November poll during a visit by the Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development Ohn Myint earlier this month, according to Than Htwe, a local township elder.

“We want to show him our gratitude for what he has done. So we invited him [to contest the November poll] during Minister Ohn Myint’s trip,” Than Htwe said.

The minister replied that the president was still undecided on whether to run in the general election but that if people pushed him to compete, Irrawaddy Division’s Ngapudaw Township would be a priority, locals said.

In the 2010 general election that was widely considered fraudulent, Thein Sein ran for a Lower House seat in Naypyidaw’s Zabuthiri Township with the Union Solidarity and Development Party.

The incumbent president is reportedly undecided on whether he will run for a second term as head of state. Earlier this month, he told Japanese news agency NHK that he would consider running if it was in line with the will of the people.

Myo Nyunt, chairperson of the National League for Democracy’s Irrawaddy Division chapter, said his party would strenuously compete against anyone running for election in the division.

“If the president stands in Ngapudaw, we will not evade it,” he said.

Ngapudaw resident Hla Htay said the president’s honesty was the key to his success.

“If he contests for Ngapudaw, success is taken for granted. With his honesty, he doesn’t need any campaign.”

During his four-year presidency, Thein Sein has overseen the construction of three bridges in the area where waterways used to be the main route of transport.

“We have 90 village tracts and more than 400 villages,” said Than Htwe. “People from here are ready to campaign for the president from their own pockets.”