USDP sec­re­tary launches into crit­i­cism of Union Elec­tion Com­mis­sion dur­ing meet­ing

The Myanmar Times - - News - PYAE THET PHYO pyae­thet­phyo@mm­ – Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

SEC­RE­TARY of the for­mer rul­ing party U Kyaw Kyaw Htay said yes­ter­day that the Union Elec­tion Com­mis­sion is fail­ing to co­op­er­ate with the me­dia. The crit­i­cism was lev­elled at the elec­tion stag­ing body dur­ing a meet­ing be­tween the UEC and po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Nay Pyi Taw.

U Kyaw Kyaw Htay sug­gested that co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the UEC and the me­dia needs to be stel­lar.

Con­tin­u­ing the tirade, he also crit­i­cised the way UEC is plan­ning to de­mar­cate con­stituen­cies in the 2020, claim­ing that area is more im­por­tant to con­sider than pop­u­la­tion rate.

He said that the polls are not open long enough on Elec­tion Day and called for a change to the vot­ing sys­tem.

“The num­ber of vot­ers per poll sta­tion is in the thou­sands,” he told re­porters dur­ing a break in the meet­ing. “I think vot­ers should get one to two hours more on Elec­tion Day.”

The Union Sol­i­dar­ity and De­vel­op­ment Party will co­op­er­ate with the UEC to achieve a suc­cess­ful by­elec­tion next year and a suc­cess­ful gen­eral elec­tion in 2020, U Kyaw Kyaw Htay said.

The once-rul­ing party was thor­oughly trounced by its op­po­si­tion the Na­tional League for Democ­racy in last year’s elec­tion.

The up­com­ing 2017 by-elec­tion is meant to fill va­can­cies that have arisen in the mid­dle of the term. There are 18 empty seats, and USDP plans to run for all of them, U Kyaw Kyaw Htay said, but the party has not yet se­lected its lineup of can­di­dates.

Fed­eral Union Party chair Sao Thar Oo also called on the UEC yes­ter­day to re­con­sider some of its elec­tion stag­ing meth­ods. “In some cases, the com­mis­sion needs to make changes to bring the sys­tem into ac­cor­dance with the con­sti­tu­tion,” he said.

The UEC was hit with crit­i­cism last year largely over wide­spread er­rors on the voter lists, but also fu­elled anger among in­ter­na­tional mon­i­tors for up­hold­ing the de­ci­sion to re­voke the can­di­dacy of dozens of Mus­lim con­tes­tants.

Yes­ter­day, del­e­gates from 65 po­lit­i­cal par­ties, in­clud­ing the nowrul­ing Na­tional League for Democ­racy, dis­cussed elec­toral af­fairs at the event.

Na­tional Unity Party chair U Han Shwe said that the com­mis­sion needs to work to­gether with po­lit­i­cal par­ties, the me­dia and civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions in the run-up to the by-elec­tion.

UEC chair U Hla Thein said that the com­mis­sion plans to hold the by-elec­tion in three months, on April 1, 2017.

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

Can­di­dates hop­ing to vie for a seat must regis­ter with the UEC be­tween Novem­ber 28 and De­cem­ber 7.

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