UEC re­leases by-elec­tion roadmap

Vot­ers in 18 con­stituen­cies across the coun­try will head to the polls on April 1, 2017, while can­di­dates hop­ing to vie for one of the va­cant seats have un­til De­cem­ber 7 to regis­ter, ac­cord­ing to the by-elec­tion sched­ule.

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - shoonnaing@mm­times.com SHOON NAING

ALL po­lit­i­cal hope­fuls seek­ing to par­tic­i­pant in next year’s by-elec­tion must regis­ter their can­di­dacy dur­ing a 10-day win­dow from No­vem­ber 28 to De­cem­ber 7, the Union Elec­tion Com­mis­sion an­nounced this week.

The UEC will re­lease fi­nal can­di­date lists on Jan­uary 2 and the cam­paign pe­riod will run two months, from the end of Jan­uary un­til the end of March, with vot­ers in 18 con­stituen­cies set to head to the polls on April 1, 2017, ac­cord­ing to a by-elec­tion sched­ule re­leased on Oc­to­ber 18.

Out of the 18 con­stituen­cies, spread across five states and three re­gions, Shan State will see the most seats voted on, with seven races in to­tal. The Shan Na­tion­al­i­ties League for Democ­racy is plan­ning to con­test all seven races, ac­cord­ing to SNLD general sec­re­tary Sai Nyunt Lwin, with the party ex­pected to make a fi­nal de­ci­sion by Fri­day.

“Our party will con­test seven seats, I guess. We have our CEC [cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee] meet­ing on the 21st and 22nd, where the de­ci­sion will be made,” he said.

The SNLD was the coun­try’s se­cond-most suc­cess­ful eth­nic party, win­ning 15 seats in the Union par­lia­ment and 25 in the Shan State leg­is­la­ture, as well as one in the Kachin State Hlut­taw.

The Union Sol­i­dar­ity and Devel­op­ment Party (USDP), which lost its rul­ing ma­jor­ity to the Na­tional League for Democ­racy in the No­vem­ber 8, 2015, general elec­tion, will be look­ing to gain back ground by also con­test­ing every seat next year. Its can­di­dates will be cho­sen based on the rec­om­men­da­tions of re­spec­tive branch lead­er­ships in each con­stituency, ac­cord­ing to U Pike Htwe, the sec­re­tary of the USDP.

“By the first week of next month, we will have our can­di­dates list, I think,” said U Pike Htwe. “We will con­test to win of course, but we al­ways re­spect [the will of ] the peo­ple.”

NLD cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber U Win Htein said his party, which won nearly 80 per­cent of elected seats in the Union par­lia­ment and se­cured ma­jori­ties in 12 of 14 state and re­gional hlut­taws, will also com­pete in every race on the by­elec­tion map.

He told The Myan­mar Times that the party’s can­di­dates list would likely be an­nounced on No­vem­ber 12.

“We have not cho­sen the can­di­dates yet but we have a meet­ing on No­vem­ber 12 and the list will prob­a­bly be an­nounced af­ter the meet­ing,” he said.

Nine seats in the Pyithu Hlut­taw, three seats in the Amyotha Hlut­taw, and six seats in Myan­mar’s state and re­gional leg­is­la­tures will be up for grabs next year, with those con­stituen­cies cur­rently lack­ing leg­isla­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

The by-elec­tion will in­clude six seats in two Shan State town­ships that did not hold a vote in last year’s general elec­tion due to in­sta­bil­ity in the area at the time. Kyethi and Mine Shu/Mong Shu town­ships will hold by-elec­tions for two seats each in the re­gional leg­is­la­ture and two seats in the Union par­lia­ment’s lower house.

All seats to be con­tested next year had been held post-2015 by the NLD, with 10, or the USDP, which had two of them.

Vacancies in­clude Kawhmu town­ship in the lower house, for­merly held by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who gave up her seat to as­sume the role of state coun­sel­lor in April of this year. The up­per house seat of Chin State No 3 must also be filled, af­ter the elec­tion-win­ning NLD can­di­date U Henry Van Thio was selected as one of Myan­mar’s two vice pres­i­dents.

In Bago con­stituency No 4, U Win Myat Aye of the NLD won his race but was picked by his party’s ad­min­is­tra­tion to serve as the so­cial wel­fare, re­lief and re­set­tle­ment min­is­ter. Ann town­ship in Rakhine State, a lower house seat, was won by the USDP’s U Thein Swe, who now serves as the labour, im­mi­gra­tion and pop­u­la­tion min­is­ter.

Also hold­ing votes to fill seats va­cated mid-term will be Monywa, Chaung­zone, Hlaing Thar­yar, Dagon Seikkan and East Dagon town­ships in the Pyithu Hlut­taw; Yan­gon re­gion No 6 in the Amyotha Hlut­taw; and Hpruso No 1 (Kayah) and Keng­tung No 2 (Shan), for state leg­isla­tive seats.

Photo: Kaung Htet

Vot­ers look for their names on a voter list posted at a polling sta­tion in Min­galar Taung Nyunt town­ship, Yan­gon.

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