Ethnic Parties Prepare For Meeting With Union Election Commission

By Network Media Group
Thursday, June 25, 2020

Ethnic political parties want to discuss a “free and fair” 2020 general election during a two-day meeting (June 26-27) in Yangon with the Union Election Commission (UEC) and other registered parties.

Sai Lek, general secretary of Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), says he wants to be assured campaign rules are applied equally to all the parties during the pandemic. With restrictions still in place outlawing gatherings of more than five, he says he doesn’t know if they will “withdraw social distancing guidelines” or “what guidelines will be set up for election campaigning” cautioning that “restrictions and guidelines must be the same for all political parties.”

Sai Lek will push for independent election monitoring watchdogs to get adequate and reliable information about the election that can be disseminated to the public for a “free and fair election.”

Sai Lek also will ask the UEC if polling will be allowed in war-stricken northern Rakhine State and Paletwa Township in southern Chin State.

Myo Kyaw, the general secretary of Arakan League for Democracy Party (ALD), told NMG that his party “represents the Rakhine people.” He asks, then, will he be able to represent them in northern Rakhine State, where there’s conflict between Arakan Army (AA) and Burma Army? He also wants to know what measures the UEC will take to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during the election.

Gumgrawng Awng Hkam, vice-chair of Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP), says he wants to discuss the incumbent government’s decision to allow voting rights for domestic migrant workers in Kachin State, polling stations inside army barracks and, like the other parties, will the election be transparent and fair?

In a joint statement, the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) asked UEC to obtain the consent of all parties contesting the election if the government decides to postpone it. The government planned to hold the election this November, but hasn’t been specific about the date.