Voters decrease in Nay Pyi Taw: EC

By Win Ko Ko Latt
Volume 31, No. 620
March 26 - April 1, 2012

National League for Democracy candidate for Zabuthiri, Zayar Thaw, campaigns in Nay Pyi Taw last month.
Pic: Kaung Htet

THE number of eligible voters in four townships in Nay Pyi Taw where by-elections will be held has decreased by about 20 percent since November 2010, a senior election commission official said last week.

Dr Aung Than, chairman of the Nay Pyi Taw District Election Sub-commission, told The Myanmar Times on March 19 that the decrease was because many migrant workers had left the capital since the middle of last year.

In June 2011, the government halted work at many construction sites in Nay Pyi Taw in an effort to reduce the budget deficit. The decision prompted tens of thousands of migrant workers – including those working at the parliamentary complex, which employed about 30,000 workers – to return to their hometowns, he said.

By-elections will be held in the vacant Pyithu Hluttaw seats of Dakkhinathiri, Pobbathiri, Zabuthiri and Ottarathiri.

“There were more than 190,000 eligible voters in those townships in the 2010 general elections but now there are just over 150,000,” Dr Aung Than said.

This includes about 36,200 in Ottarathiri, 54,000 in Pobbathiri, 44,000 in Zabuthiri and 16,400 in Dakkhinathiri, he added.

These numbers could rise, however, when new migrant workers are registered to vote.

“Ward and village election sub-committees have not yet submitted how many migrant workers will cast votes in the by-elections, but we will issue temporary [identity] cards to those who do not hold a National Registration Card so they can vote,” Dr Aung Than said.

U Than Win, deputy director of the Immigration and National Registration Department, said: “Our department will issue [identity cards] to those who are recommended by ward and village election sub-commissions.”

He could not say how many migrant workers will be issued with these temporary cards but added that the Nay Pyi Taw area, which is made up of eight townships, has a population of about one million.

“Some ward and village election sub-commissions will issue temporary cards only when the by-elections draw nearer so that voters do not to lose them,” he said.

U Myint Than, chairman of the Alin Lo Village Election Sub-commission in Zabuthiri, said that he would issue temporary cards to “no more than 20” migrant workers about three days before the by-elecitons so they would be able to vote.

Ma Tin Tin Ma, a 32-year-old worker at a construction site in Zabuthiri, said: “I will take a temporary card so that I don’t miss my right to vote.”

Meanwhile, Dr Aung Than said that residents of two villages in Pyinmana township that had changed to Zabuthiri township would be able to vote as normal on April 1.