NLD Announces Candidates, Selection Criteria for By-Election

By Htet Naing Zaw 28 November 2016

NAYPYIDAW — The ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) announced on Monday the list of candidates to contest all 19 vacant seats in the by-election slated for April 1, 2017.

Among 19 candidates, only two are women, and are competing for seats in the Upper House and the Shan State regional parliament.

The NLD has adopted a new policy in selecting candidates for the by-election, the party’s spokesperson U Win Htein told the press in Naypyidaw on Saturday.

“In the 2015 election, we favored youth, women and ethnic persons in selecting candidates. But then, some of them lacked political acumen, and are not mature. They act and speak recklessly. Therefore, we now select those with political virtue,” U Win Htein told reporters.

Despite this shift, the party has mostly approved the candidates selected by township level chapters, and only in some cases has the NLD’s central executive committee replaced the candidates, said U Win Htein.

On Saturday, the NLD officially relieved three lawmakers of their duties in the party—U Sein Win from Maubin Township, Dr. Soe Moe Thu from Myaungmya Township, and U Nyan Linn from Shwepyitha Township.

“These three will be relieved of their duties in the parliament and the party. Now, they are ordinary party members. We will also have to discipline some other lawmakers, but their cases are not as bad as those three,” said U Win Htein.

U Sein Win was relieved of his duties because he sued fellow NLD members despite mediation provided by NLD senior leaders, said members of the party.

Dr. Soe Moe Thu has been under fire for reported extramarital affairs, while U Nyan Lin is facing charges of trespassing in a hotel in Rangoon’s Shwepyitha.

Among the 19 vacant seats are three in the Upper House in Chin State, Pegu and Rangoon divisions, nine in the Lower House in Sagaing and Rangoon divisions and Shan, Mon and Arakan states, and seven seats in the Karenni and Shan State regional parliaments.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko