USDP chair wins Pyithu Hluttaw seat in Naypyitaw

Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) chair Than Htay looks set to win in Naypyitaw’s Zeyathiri township, according to election returns that give him a lead of nearly 6,000 voters over his National League for Democracy (NLD) rival.

Zeyathiri township is widely regarded as a stronghold of the military-backed USDP, which won the constituency by margins of at least 10,000 votes in the elections of 2010 and 2015.

In this year’s election, Than Htay has so far captured a total of 35,309 of the township’s more than 80,000 votes, compared to the 29,456 votes won by the NLD’s Dr. Moe Swe, the former director general of Public Health Department.

Dr. Moe Soe took an early lead in the race, which at one point put him 1,790 votes ahead of Than Htay, but he soon lost his advantage as later results came in.

Zeyathiri has 74 polling stations, including six that are used exclusively by military personnel. Four candidates contested the constituency’s Pyithu Hluttaw seat.

Despite his rival’s commanding lead, Dr. Moe Swe said it was too soon to concede. “I don’t have any comment to make about the result, as it is still early,” he told Myanmar Now.

Than Htay previously won a Pyithu Hluttaw seat representing Ayeyarwady region’s Myanaung township in 2010, but lost the seat to an NLD candidate in 2015.

He was deputy energy minister under Myanmar’s former military regime and later served in the Thein Sein administration as energy minister (2011-13) and minister of rail transportation (2013-15). He has been USDP chair since 2016.

While his victory looks assured, his vice-chair, Khin Yi, seems headed for defeat in Yangon’s Seikkyi Kanaungto township.

As of midnight on Sunday, the former immigration and population minister was lagging far behind the NLD candidate in the contest for the township’s seat in the Pyithu Hluttaw.  

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