New parties founded by former Suu Kyi allies suffer bruising defeats 

Two prominent former allies of Aung San Suu Kyi who each founded a party to challenge her in this year’s election have suffered overwhelming defeats, failing to elect even a single candidate between them.

Thet Thet Khine, who founded the People’s Pioneer Party (PPP) last year after leaving the National League for Democracy (NLD) in 2018, lost by more than 80,000 votes to her NLD opponent in Mayangone, where she ran for a Pyithu Hluttaw seat. 

The NLD’s May Win Myint won 89,548 votes while Thet Thet Khine received 7,498. The PPP stood 241 other candidates around the country this year, including about 100 in Yangon. 

Ko Ko Gyi, who fought alongside Aung San Suu Kyi as a leader of the 1988 student uprising,  failed to elect any of the 140 candidates that stood for the People’s Party, which he founded in 2018.

“The NLD won the 2020 election in a landslide, so we can see that people did not take an individual’s abilities very seriously,” said Kyaw Zaya, the PPP’s vice-chair, who lost his race against an NLD candidate for seat in Yangon’s regional  

He noted that the party’s candidates often came third in their races, which he said showed the PPP “is the most popular party after the NLD and the USDP, and the most popular party among the new parties.”

He also said that this year’s election could not be considered fair because new political parties were unable to campaign l due to Covid-19 restrictions, while the NLD had access to numerous national platforms. 

Ye Naing Aung, secretary of the election victory team of the People’s Party., said: “As a rule, our candidates came third and fourth.” 

Leaders from each party told Myanmar Now before polling day that they viewed the 2020 election as an opportunity to boost the parties’ profiles and name recognition. 

The PPP viewed 2020 as a “party-building” period, and is aiming to compete to form a government in 2025 2030, said Kyaw Zaya.

Ko Ko Gyi told Myanmar Now his party was looking beyond the Aung San Suu Kyi era.

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