NLD sweeps Nay Pyi Taw in surprise win

By Win Ko Ko Latt, Nyein Ei Ei Htwe, Su Hlaing Tun and Yu Yu Maw
Volume 32, No. 622
April 9 - 15, 2012

A polling station in Nay Pyi Taw on April 1.
Pic: Bothee

HAS there been a bigger turnaround in electoral history than the NLD’s win in Nay Pyi Taw on April 1? That’s one for the pundits to ponder, as the party of the golden peacock triumphed in four constituencies where less than 18 months earlier their opponents, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, had won with up to 90 percent of the vote.

The NLD won the constituencies of Zabuthiri (won in 2010 by President U Thein Sein with 91.3pc of the vote), Ottarathiri (U Kyaw Swar Khine, 80pc), Dekkhinathiri (U Myint Hlaing, 90.1pc) and Pobbathiri (Thiha Thura U Tin Aung Myint Oo, 90.5pc) on April 1.

There were 184 polling stations set up across the four township with 165,058 eligible voters, according to the election commission.

Most of the victorious NLD candidates said they would focus on legal and land reform as they were the primary concerns of their constituents.

Newly elected National League for Democracy representative for Pobbathiri U Phyo Zayar Thaw.
Pic: Boothee

U Naing Ngan Linn, who won Dekkhinathiri with 7681 votes, said he wanted to focus on improving education standards in his constituency and also human rights issues.

“I thank all villagers who believed in me and voted for me,” he said. “The first thing that I will do in the hluttaw is to make a law to improve the livelihoods of farmers with the help of other parties. And I will submit cases of some farmers who are being persecuted.”

U Phyo Zay Yar Thaw, who won Pobbathiri, said he would meet with lawyers to discuss necessary legal changes.

“When I say that I want to change some laws I do so just as a citizen who has also suffered for years. We’ve been punished often without reason so I decided to improve the laws by discussing with expert lawyers,” U Phyo Zayar Thaw said.

“The NLD was founded to stand in front of public and to do what public wants,” he said. “I feel a big responsibility on my shoulders.”

The new representative for Zabuthiri, Daw Sandar Minn, said she won because the president had ensured voters could choose freely.

“I want to thank all the villagers who voted for me. My opponent was a good one and I feel that we won half each. The serious thing in my township is farmers’ rights so I’ll try to solve those problems,” she said.

“I don’t feel anything and there’s nothing to say about the NLD’s win except that I’m satisfied with the result,” said her USDP opponent, U Win Htay.

As in many other constituencies on April 1, voter lists were an issue in Nay Pyi Taw.

Daw Sandar Minn said Zabuthiri had about 100,000 eligible voters but only 53,000 were included on the election commission’s voter roll.

“From this by-election we learned about the problems of not having proper family registration because this resulted in the voter list errors,” said U Min Thu, who won Ottarathiri township. “Many can’t vote even though they are eligible.

“And I think if the authorities don’t improve this there will be many difficulties in the 2015 election. I’ve found that some have form number 10, which legally allows them to vote, and they also have a National Registration Card but for some reason they were told by leaders of villages they couldn’t vote.”