Yan­gon NLD of­fice ramps up by-elec­tion prepa­ra­tions

The rul­ing party held a meet­ing in Yan­gon to ce­ment in­ter­party ties ahead of its plan to con­test all 19 seats up for a vote in the up­com­ing by-elec­tion on April 1.

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

LEAD­ERS of the rul­ing Na­tional League for Democ­racy gath­ered yes­ter­day seek­ing to forge a “stronger re­la­tion­ship” among its mem­bers as the party pre­pares to con­test all 19 seats up for a vote in the up­com­ing by-elec­tion on April 1.

The party’s 6th Re­gion, District and Town­ship Ple­nary Meet­ing was held at Sky Star Ho­tel in Yan­gon. Vet­eran party pa­tron U Tin Oo was joined by other prom­i­nent NLD fig­ures in­clud­ing the Speaker of the Pyithu Hlut­taw U Win Myint; cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers U Win Htein, U Han Thar Myint and U Nyan Win; Yan­gon Re­gion Chief Min­is­ter U Phyo Min Thein; and the chair of the NLD’s Yan­gon Re­gion branch, U Myint Htay.

“This meet­ing is to have a stronger re­la­tion­ship among the party mem­bers to make prepa­ra­tions re­gard­ing the up­com­ing by-elec­tion. The NLD has to main­tain the good tra­di­tion of win­ing all the elec­tions that we par­tic­i­pate in,” said U Tin Oo.

One no­table ab­sence was State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who ar­rived in Japan yes­ter­day for a five-day trip.

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

The NLD is in the process of se­lect­ing its can­di­dates for the by-elec­tion, ac­cord­ing to U Win Htein.

“We are still se­lect­ing the rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and as usual, we will con­test to win and to­day is to dis­cuss the is­sues of Yan­gon Re­gion,” he told The Myan­mar Times yes­ter­day.

Can­di­dates hop­ing to con­test must reg­is­ter with the Union Elec­tion Com­mis­sion be­tween Novem­ber 28 and De­cem­ber 7. 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.

“The by-elec­tion is com­ing soon. We all need to be united and per­form our re­spec­tive roles and take our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in or­der to be able to achieve our goal of democ­racy,” said U Phyo Min Thein, who en­cour­aged his party’s mem­bers to give it their all in the up­com­ing elec­toral con­test.

U Myint Htay noted that the vote would mark the first time the NLD has com­peted as the rul­ing party, with the Yan­gon Re­gion chair warn­ing against com­pla­cency.

“In my opinion, the 2017 by-elec­tion is the pre-test for the 2020 gen­eral elec­tion,” he said. “In the pre­vi­ous elec­tions of 1990, 2012 [a by-elec­tion] and 2015, our party was act­ing as an op­po­si­tion party and we won those elec­tions be­cause of the pub­lic’s will­ing­ness for change and democ­racy, along with our hard work and our leader’s man­age­ment. But this time is dif­fer­ent since we are the rul­ing party.”

He also sug­gested that with fewer seats in play than the Novem­ber 2015 gen­eral elec­tion, vot­ers would be more likely to scru­ti­nise can­di­dates’ qual­i­fi­ca­tions, in con­trast to last year’s poll, which was widely viewed as a vote more in­formed by party af­fil­i­a­tion.

“Things have changed. Now, our peo­ple have the time to check each rep­re­sen­ta­tive,” he said.

Along with the NLD, the Union Sol­i­dar­ity and De­vel­op­ment Party has also vowed to con­test all 19 by-elec­tion races.

PHOTO: AUNG KHANT

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