First capture seats in the by-election, then stage a full on 2020 comeback. Such are the plans of the Union Solidarity and Development Party, the only political party contesting every constituency in the April by-election.
USDP spokesperson U Pike Htwe said yesterday that his party thinks it will win the 19 by-election races because they will stay local, and focus on the ground campaign.
Instead of putting forward big shots like ex-ministers and former deputies, the party wants to keep the election local, and so have put forward only those who know the constituency and are competing to represent their neighbours, friends and relatives.
“In selecting the candidates, we gave priority to those who live in the constituency, and who already have the local people’s support and who are trustworthy,” U Pike Htwe said at a meeting with reporters at the USDP Nay Pyi Taw headquarters.
“Ministers and deputy ministers are not included in our candidate list. Those who were in positions of higher authority were not included either. The candidates are the people who live in the respective region and so can effectively represent that region,” he said.
He added that the party did not use age as a criteria, but instead placed emphasis on the perspective candidates’ importance to a local community.
“When you see [our candidate lineup] for the 19 constituencies, you will see they are of various ages – old, middle and young,” said U Pike Htwe, who is also the leader of the USDP information team..
Party candidates were selected after public polls were conducted in the respective constituencies, he said.
“We will cooperate and try to win rightly, fairly and justly. During our time as the ruling party and then just as an ordinary party, the USDP always attentively tried to compete and win within the parameters of the laws, regulations and procedures,” the spokesperson said.
The USDP won the second-most seats of any party in the 2015 election, capturing 118 spots, as opposed to the National League for Democracy’s 886 wins.
Translation by Zaw Nyunt