Monday, July 24, 2017

Candidate calls for fair fight in capital

A National Unity Party candidate has urged commission officials to ensure a level election playing field in Nay Pyi Taw, alleging that some candidates in previous votes faced tougher scrutiny than others.

Amyotha Hluttaw candidate U Myint Oo said general administration department and police officials used their powers to discriminate against some candidates.

“We faced some challenges in the 2010 election and 2012 by-election,” he said. “Police went to the homes in which we did our activities and asked the owners what we would do. Because of that the hosts dare not accept our activities.

“We think the election commission needs to negotiate with government departments at each level to ensure candidates can conveniently carry out their election campaign activities.”

He made the comments at a meeting at the Nay Pyi Taw Union Territory Election Sub-commission on September 8, at which commission officials explained campaign rules.

U Myint Oo, who contested the seat of Lewe in Nay Pyi Taw in 2010, also alleged that “some independent candidates” running Nay Pyi Taw are still receiving accommodation and other benefits from the government, which is forbidden under election rules.

“The election commission should ensure that all candidates have equal rights,” he said.

The head of the National League for Democracy contingent in Nay Pyi Taw also raised concerns about permission for campaign events.

U Phyo Zay Yar Thaw said the rules issued by the commission for this year’s election were too restrictive, as candidates have to submit plans for all public campaign events within 15 days of the release of the final candidate list. Events held in party offices do not require prior permission, but candidates must still inform the commission.

He called on the commission to clarify earlier promises to “liberalise” the campaign rules.

“It’s difficult to present a full 60-day plan within those 15 days. We are worried that we might want to go back to a village or ward for a second campaign event because we think the party is weaker there, but the commission will reject it because it was not in our original plan,” he said.

Translation by Thiri Min Htun