Loud and proud, campaigning for MCDC election irks Mandalay residents
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