SNLD Objects to Muse Election Commission’s Mid-September Deadline for Campaign Applications

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) has demanded that the Muse District Election Commission in northern Shan State withdraw an announcement related to election campaign deadlines.

The commission announced that they wouldn’t accept applications for election campaigns after September 14, a move which the SNLD argues is in violation of the Union Election Commission (UEC) rules.

“The announcement by the district election commission is not in line with statements by the UEC. They said that they would negotiate it,” SNLD general secretary Sai Lek told NMG.

According to Sai Lek, Muse is the only district that has declared such a deadline.

“I already enquired about it in Shan State, Kachin State and Kayah State. No other election commission has released this kind of announcement,” he said.

The Muse District Election Commission announced that in accordance with Directive 1/2014, political parties and electoral candidates must apply to carry out election campaigns no later than September 14, 2020.

“The township and district election commissions do not follow the directives and guidelines of the UEC. They do not understand and study the principles and guidelines of the UEC. That’s why they repeatedly release these announcements. This makes it difficult to launch election campaigns,” the SNLD’s Sai Lek explained. “Their announcement implies that they will only allow political parties and candidates who apply before September 14 to carry out their election campaigns, and that they won’t allow parties and candidates to do so if they apply after September 14. I think they are not trying to understand the UEC’s statements from 2014 and 2015. Therefore, they are making it difficult for us.”

He said that Muse’s election commission had created another difficulty for political parties in addition to those they are already facing because the election is taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Campaigning already must follow the guidelines and restrictions put forward by Burma’s Ministry of Health and Sports.

On September 6, the UEC announced the start of a 60-day election campaign period ending at midnight on November 6.