USDP to Contest Upcoming By-Election

By Kyaw Myo 25 June 2018

NAYPYITAW — The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has not made preparations although it has decided to contest the upcoming by-election in November, said party spokesperson Dr. Nanda Hla Myint.

“As a major party, we acknowledge that the election is our political stage. We have a policy to contest. We’ll hold a CEC [central executive committee] meeting to decide in which constituencies we’ll contest,” Dr. Nanda Hla Myint told The Irrawaddy on Saturday.

The CEC meeting is scheduled to be held the last week of June, he said.

The USDP will hold a press conference regarding the Rakhine crisis, the November by-election, and a bill that would allow impeachment proceedings on June 29, and the CEC meeting will be held before that, he said.

The credibility of the Union Election Commission (UEC) is one factor that the USDP considered when deciding whether or not to contest the by-election, he added.

He said that the election body formed under the USDP government did not favor the party. In a 2012 by-election, it decided in favor of the National League for Democracy (NLD) regarding four complaints made by the USDP.

In the 2015 general election and the 2017 by-election, the USDP filed a total of 31 complaints and lost all of them, said Dr. Nanda Hla Myint, who questioned the credibility of the commission.

The commission and the USDP met recently after the latter said at a press conference that it had no trust in the commission.

U Myint Naing, a member of the UEC, responded that the commission is free and independent. “We have always acted freely and fairly in line with the law. We will continue doing so,” he told The Irrawaddy.

Four seats in the Lower House, one seat in the Upper House, eight seats in the regional parliaments, totaling 13 seats will be up for grabs in the Nov. 3 election, according to the election commission.

The four seats vacant in the Lower House are Chin State’s Kanpetlet Township, Shan State’s Laihka Township, Mandalay’s Myingyan Township and Yangon’s Tamwe Township. The vacant seat in the Upper House is Kachin State Constituency 2. Vacant seats in the regional parliaments are Chin State’s Matupi Township, Sagaing’s Tamu Township, Bago’s Oktwin Township, Rakhine State’s Rathedaung Township, Magwe’s Minbu Township, Yangon’s Seikkan Township and the ethnic Shan constituency for Mandalay’s regional Parliament.

The NLD will contest all of the vacant seats, said party spokesperson U Myo Nyunt.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.