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.
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.