RCSS Recommends Political Parties Inform Them of Election Campaigns in Their Territory

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

If political parties want to campaign for the general election in territory controlled by the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), they should inform the ethnic armed organization before launching any activities, the RCSS announced this week.

“They need to inform us. They need to negotiate with us. They need to come to an understanding with us,” Lt-Col Sai Oum Khur, an RCSS spokesperson, told NMG. “This is because clashes can occur at any time in RCSS-controlled territory. Military stand-offs can occur. So they need to inform us. We want their election campaigns to go smoothly, without any danger.”

Political parties should speak with RCSS liaison offices or officers in regional administration branches before traveling in the area, the RCSS recommended. While these groups can opt to campaign without RCSS permission, the ethnic armed organization warned that they are putting themselves at risk of being caught in regional instability.

“The RCSS will not take action against political parties that fail to inform us [of being in our territory]. If they have some problems because of military tension, we will have that responsibility. That’s why we are urging them to inform us,” Lt-Col Sai Oum Khur said.

He urged parties to pay attention to the political affairs in both Shan State and nationally, to follow election commission guidelines during their campaigns, and health guidelines concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RCSS officially supported the convening of elections 2010 and 2015, as long as they were “free and fair,” and the organization will support the 2020 general election as well, according to official statements.

The RCSS is active in Mongton and Mong Hsat townships in eastern Shan State, and Mongpan, Mongnai, Laikha, Kunhing, Lawksawk, Maukmai, Mung Kawng, and Namsang in southern Shan State. In northern Shan State, they are active in Kyaukme and Namkham townships.

The RCSS is a 2015 signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and military, along with nine other ethnic armed organizations. However, the RCSS has had clashes with government forces in recent months, and other ethnic armed organizations in the past.