Loud and proud, cam­paign­ing for MCDC election irks Man­dalay res­i­dents

The Myanmar Times - - News - MAUNG ZAW maungzaw@mm­times.com

ROWDY early cam­paign­ing for seats on Man­dalay City De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee has some res­i­dents of Myan­mar’s sec­ond city long­ing for a more dis­ci­plined demo­cratic ex­er­cise.

“Even though the cam­paign­ing pe­riod is just a few days old, com­plaints – mostly by phone – have be­come nu­mer­ous. Ev­ery town­ship has seen com­plaints ... There­fore, the [election] com­mis­sion took is­sue with this mat­ter, re­gard­ing the cam­paign­ing style of can­di­dates,” said a mem­ber of the MCDC election com­mis­sion on Septem­ber 12.

Ve­hi­cles plas­tered in cam­paign posters are criss-cross­ing the city with sound sys­tems blar­ing and lit­tle re­gard for traf­fic reg­u­la­tions and road eti­quette, prompt­ing the Man­dalay Re­gion chief min­is­ter to is­sue a direc­tive this week in an at­tempt to rein in overzeal­ous elec­tion­eer­ing.

“I ac­cept the can­di­dates cam­paign­ing to get out the vote, but they should be aware of what is go­ing to hap­pen due to their cam­paign­ing,” a spokesper­son for the election com­mis­sion said. “I would have noth­ing to say if they were cam­paign­ing in ac­cor­dance with dis­ci­pline.”

The MCDC election will be held on Septem­ber 25 for seats rep­re­sent­ing six town­ships – Aung Myay Tharzan, Chan Aye Tharzan, Maha Aung Myay, Chan Mya Tharsi, Pyi­gy­ita­gun and Amara­pura. A to­tal of 34 can­di­dates are vy­ing for the six elected seats on the 13-mem­ber com­mit­tee, with the of­fi­cial cam­paign pe­riod run­ning from Septem­ber 7 to 23.

“They come to cam­paign in the town­ship with dec­o­rated cars and yelling loudly,” U Soe Lwin, who lives in a north­ern ward of Chan Mya Tharsi town­ship, told The Myan­mar Times.

“They don’t even con­sider that are there might be peo­ple with ill­nesses in the town­ship, and en­ter into the nar­row lanes of the town­ship with their cars. There are at least six cam­paign­ing cars. The cars in the [nar­row lanes of the] town­ship can’t get out un­til they leave. There­fore, we com­plained to the com­mis­sion.”

U Ye Mon, a can­di­date for the Amara­pura town­ship seat, said he would heed calls for a more or­derly cam­paign pe­riod.

“I ac­cept that the com­mis­sion is­sued a let­ter on this mat­ter and can­di­dates should be aware not to be an an­noy­ance to peo­ple with their cam­paign­ing style,” he said.

In ad­di­tion to the six elected MCDC mem­bers, the Man­dalay mayor and joint sec­re­tary are joined by five mem­bers ap­pointed to the com­mit­tee by the re­gional gov­ern­ment.

– Trans­la­tion by Emoon

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