Naypyitaw — The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), led by ex-military leaders, has filed nearly 200 complaints with Myanmar’s election body about alleged electoral malpractices at the Nov. 8 general election. Most of the complaints were filed against the National League for Democracy (NLD), which won a majority in last month’s poll.
“It is not that we can’t accept defeat. Voter lists were badly flawed and there were more serious electoral violations compared to previous elections. We filed complaints because we are concerned such practices will undermine democratic culture,” said the USDP’s spokeswoman, Daw Yin Min Myint Swe.
She said the party filed complaints in Naypyitaw, Yangon and Mandalay regions and some states. The party spotted more than 200 cases of election manipulation but lacked evidence in some cases and could not file all the complaints, she said.
Meanwhile, the NLD has filed five complaints against the USDP, including a complaint against its chairman, U Than Htay, who won the Lower House seat in Zayarthiri Township, Naypyitaw, alleging racial and religious incitement to solicit votes ahead of the election.
The NLD also filed 17 complaints with police alleging that its signs had been vandalized and its supporters attacked ahead of the election in Naypyitaw and Shan, Kachin, Rakhine and Karen states.
Regarding the USDP’s complaints, NLD central executive committee member Dr. Myo Nyunt said the party’s candidates will handle any complaints as it provided proper training to candidates on electoral law and careful supervision ensured candidates did not break the laws.
U Nay Win Naing, program director of election monitoring group the Fifth Pillar, said there were many complaints because of erroneous voter lists compiled by the Union Election Commission (UEC) and because candidates held rallies at religious buildings and solicited votes on racial and religious grounds.
“The weakness on the part of the UEC was that its voter lists were riddled with errors. So there is a political question about how the UEC will take responsibility for voter list errors,” he said.
There have been over 280 complaints filed with the UEC against parties in the election, compared to 45 after the 2015 general election.
On Monday, around 100 people staged a protest in Yangon, calling for action against the UEC chairman for failing to organize a free and fair election.
In the 2010 general election, the USDP won a majority and took office, with the NLD boycotting the poll. The NLD came to office in 2016 after winning by a landslide in 2015. The USDP filed 19 complaints against the NLD and the NLD filed seven complaints against the USDP. Two NLD complaints were upheld and the USDP allegations were all rejected.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko