Ethnic Parties Condemn UEC for Canceling Election in Ethnic Areas

By Network Media Group
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Five ethnic parties released a joint statement condemning the cancelation of the election in constituencies across the country. They say it is unfair to push them to seek other means of achieving political change outside of Parliament.

Kachin State People’s Party, Kayah State Democratic Party, Karen National Democratic Party (KNDP), Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD), and Mon Unity Party (MUP) opposed the recent decision of the Union Election Commission (UEC) to cancel polling.

Nai Layae Tama, who is the MUP’s joint secretary-1, told NMG that many people will lose their right to vote. “We need to expand our political boundaries using Parliament, but they are trying to undermine us. I think they are trying to push ethnic people to seek a political path outside of Parliament.”

The UEC canceled the election in a number of ethnic constituencies, where parties say they can count on strong support about 20 days before the polls open.

Saw Chit Than, KNDP’s general secretary, told NMG “our ethnic people will suffer a lot because they lost their right to vote.” Some of the areas where voting was canceled were allowed during the 2015 race, he said. “Ethnic parties will win in these constituencies.”

“Voting is a fundamental right in a democracy. If people can’t cast their vote in an election, they lose their rights as citizens,” Nai Layae Tama said.

Polling has been canceled in 550 village-tracts and 23 wards in more than 50 townships in Kachin, Karen, Shan, Rakhine and Mon states and Bago Region.