Parties protest cancelation of vote in Mong Kung

Four political parties are calling on the Union Election Commission (UEC) to reverse its decision to exclude southern Shan state’s Mong Kung township from next week’s election. 

The parties, all of which were planning to field candidates in the constituency, said the move was unnecessary because the area is not at any immediate risk from conflict or Covid-19.

Election officials said the decision stemmed from complaints that an ethnic armed group operating in the area had interfered in campaign activities.

The Ta’ang National Party (TNP) said that it had been prevented from canvassing in the area by the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA).

“There are limits imposed on the parties and local people. This is a reality,” the secretary of the Loilen district election commission, Thein Naing, told Myanmar Now. 

According to a statement released by the UEC on October 16, nearly 60,000 people will be unable to vote because of the decision.

The parties opposed to the move are the National League for Democracy (NLD), the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), and the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP).

The TNP did not join the other parties because it said it was satisfied with the UEC’s decision.

A petition with 10,000 signatures was submitted to the UEC on October 22 to urge it to allow Mong Kung constituents to vote. (SNLD Facebook)

Mong Non Han, who was slated to run in Mong Kung as the TNP’s candidate for the Amyotha Hluttaw, said the party has been subjected to harassment from the moment it entered the race.

“When we received permission from the UEC to run in the election, that Shan organisation summoned TNP members and told them they could only contest in their own autonomous areas,” said Mong Non Han.

“The situation is favourable for holding elections. We are all united in our wish to go ahead with the vote,” said SNLD candidate Sai Tsai Mong.

The RCSS/SSA has denied the accusations.

“They are lying about their situation. These are all false claims to defame us,” the RCSS/SSA’s Lt Colonel Sai Oak Ke told Myanmar Now.

A petition with more than 10,000 signatures has been submitted to the UEC to urge it to reverse its decision.

Citing the absence of any imminent threat, the parties say it’s not too late to allow the township to take part in the election.

“The situation is favourable for holding elections. We are all united in our wish to go ahead with the vote. That’s why we sent the request letter,” said SNLD candidate Sai Tsai Mong.

As the party that won in Mong Kung during the 2010 and 2015 elections, the SNLD says it has the most to lose if the constituency is excluded this time around.

“If the whole township is left out of the election, it will be a serious loss for us. We have one candidate there running for the Pyitthu Hluttaw and two for the state parliament. So it will have a major effect on our party,” said Sai Tsai Mong.

Candidates from four parties are calling on the UEC to withdraw Mong Kung from the list of townships where this year’s election has been suspended. (SNLD Facebook)

USDP candidate Sai Ke Tsai also expressed disappointment at the UEC’s decision. 

“There isn’t any fighting here, and there are no Covid-19 cases. All of the parties are on good terms with each other. So we were all very surprised when the election was cancelled,” said Sai Ke Tsai.

Voting has also been called off in five other townships in Shan state. Four of these—Pang Hseng, Nahphang, Mongma and Pangwai—are under the control of the United Wa State Army (UWSA), while Mongla is controlled by the National Democratic Alliance Army.

None of the townships in the Wa autonomous region participated in the 2010 or 2015 elections.

Voting has also been suspended this year in 136 village tracts and five downtown quarters in northern Shan state.

Related Articles

Back to top button