Friday, August 18, 2017

Welcome to The Myanmar Times ongoing analysis of Myanmar's highly-anticipated election. We've set up an Election Parties page – a handy "cheat-sheet" of sorts – to help you keep track of major parties, as well as an Election Voices page, where you can find conversations with candidates and electoral experts, and comments from you, our readers. We've also been covering the results as they develop live over on our Election Live Blog – check it out!

To get involved in the conversation, send us a message at Facebook.com/TheMyanmarTimes, Tweet us @TheMyanmarTimes using the hashtag #MyanmarElection or send us an email at info@mmtimes.com, Subject: "People's Pundit" and have your voice heard! 


Final Pyithu and Amyotha Hlttaw results, as of the final UEC results announcement November 22

For more information, including full party tallies, check out our election live blog, and to see results for the Pyithu and Amyotha Hluttaws compared to the 2010 and 2012 elections, click here.



Soaring price of onions confronts NLD with challenge of governing – Myat Noe Oo Tuesday, 24 November

As the National League for Democracy prepares to take charge of Myanmar’s economy, small businesses in Yangon are cutting costs and preparing for the worst, with food prices soaring and thekyat touching an all-time low against the dollar.

Talk over the soaring price of onions in particular dominates marketplaces, bringing home the scale of the task facing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as she starts to put together her cabinet and government program.


Final results confirm scale of NLD election victory – Guy Dinmore, Wade Guyitt Monday, 23 November

Thanks to unnamed election heroes who reportedly trekked through mountains carrying ballot papers from remote areas in Kachin State, the Union Election Commission has released its full results of the November 8 polls that confirm the scale of the NLD victory.

On a nationwide basis, the NLD won 887 seats, or 77.1pc, of all the 1150 seats contested on November 8. The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party came a distant second with 117 seats, or 10.2pc, of the total.


Nationalism defeated at the ballot box – Aung Kyaw Min Monday, 23 November

Why did self-proclaimed nationalist parties fare so badly in the election? Though the absence of opinion polls and comparable electoral data made it difficult in advance to gauge the extent of support for any party, nationalist candidates appeared to be well-organised and amply funded.

The hardline nationalist Buddhist Committee for the Protection of Nationalism and Religion, known by its Myanmar acronym Ma Ba Tha, seemed to be enjoying nationwide support, whipping up crowds tens of thousands strong in its tour of the country during campaign season.

Yet not a single candidate identifying as a nationalist was elected.


NLD will need support from all sides: advisers – Htin Linn Aung Monday, 23 November

Many members of the winning National League for Democracy party have limited experience of governing and will need to gain experience gradually while carrying out their new work, said U Aung Tun Thet, economic adviser to President U Thein Sein.

“The new government will gain experience gradually, and will need to carefully consider the result of its first five years in office,” he said, adding “We will all need to offer our support to help it to move forward.”


Election offers glimmer of hope for Kayan – Maung Zaw Monday, 23 November

Known to the world’s tourists for the brass neck-coils worn by some women, the Kayan have among the lowest educational attainment in the country. An idea deeply rooted among them, according to community leaders, is, “We don’t need education. We have poppies.”

The group’s executive member, U Saw Han, said education is where the incoming minister for ethnic Kayan affairs should focus his attention.


US president notes election success at ASEAN Summit – Laignee Barron Monday, 23 November

Speaking publicly about Myanmar’s polls in a question-and-answer session, Mr Obama was congratulatory, departing from the more critical tone employed by members of his administration immediately following November 8 opposition landslide, when the White House cautioned the ruling party and military not to tamper with or hinder the results, and pointed out that the political process remains “flawed”.


Speaker, NLD leader pledge to cooperate on transition – Swan Ye Htut Friday, 20 November

In the first of three slated, high-level transition talks, yesterday Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met with Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann at his office in Nay Pyi Taw.

They discussed a road map for the protracted handover of power as the National League for Democracy prepares to take up the parliamentary reins next year following the party’s domination of the nationwide polls last week and the near-obliteration of the former ruling party.


NLD leader asked to join peace process – Ei Ei Toe Lwin Wednesday, 18 November

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi may become involved in the peace process even before her National League for Democracy forms a government next year. Yesterday, representatives of some of the eight ethnic armed groups that signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord last month signalled their wish to consult her.

The agreement itself will soon go before the current parliament, which has just begun its final session before the MPs elected on November 8 take office in January.


Next government warned to steer clear of the Myitsone – Maung Zaw Friday, 20 November

Kachin activists are promising a fierce fight over the future of the suspended Myitsone dam project, with one prominent spokesperson threatening a fight “to the death” if the incoming government allowed the project to go ahead.

President U Thein Sein won plaudits for announcing the suspension of the controversial project in 2011, but that injunction will last only until his five-year presidency ends next March.


Outgoing MPs eye ‘third force’ role – Swan Ye Htut Friday, 20 November

As the extent of the victory by the National League for Democracy starts to sink in, some of the losers are already thinking about the future and their potential role.

Outgoing MPs have mentioned the possible creation of a new, “third force” political party, while others have stressed the need to remain active in politics from outside parliament and act as a check on the NLD-controlled government and legislatures.


In poverty-stricken outskirts, hopes for change run high – Ei Ei Thu Friday, 20 November

They haven’t had much of a break, the slum-dwellers and squatters in Yangon’s densely populated industrial outer suburb of Hlaing Tharyar. But they’re hoping the National League for Democracy’s election victory will usher in a better era.

They don’t have a lot to base that conviction on, given that the NLD candidates’ campaign promises only indicated a vaguely defined agenda for “development”. Yet the largest opposition party’s slogan for change resonated with the community: Unofficial results show the NLD candidates won with more than five times as many votes as their Union Solidarity and Development Party rivals.


With constitutional change unlikely, Daw Suu to pick obedient president – Fiona MacGregor Thursday, 19 November

It is likely to take at least a year until constitutional change can be achieved, a National League for Democracy spokesperson says, rejecting speculation that the current parliament would agree to amend section 59(f) to allow Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to become president after her landslide election victory.

Remaining tight-lipped on whom the NLD leader will appoint as a proxy president while the legal process to change the constitution goes ahead, U Win Htein told The Myanmar Times, “It will be somebody who obeys her.”


NLD leader assures China of continued friendly ties – Guy Dinmore Thursday, 19 November

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has assured China that Myanmar’s next government will maintain friendly relations while paying “special attention” to ties with its neighbours, according to Xinhua news agency.

Her remarks could be taken to refer to the controversial Myitsone dam project which President U Thein Sein suspended in 2012 under public pressure.


President expected to meet NLD leader next month – Fiona MacGregor Thursday, 19 November

In the latest twist over President U Thein Sein’s refusal to set a date to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi following her party’s landslide election victory, Minister for Information U Ye Htut said yesterday that he expects a meeting will take place sometime next month.

There has been concern in some quarters over the president’s reluctance to agree to a date for a meeting, which is seen as important in the context of the stated commitment by U Thein Sein and his military backers to a peaceful transition and moves toward reconciliation.


USDP faces uncertain future after election annihilation – Lun Min Mang Thursday, 19 November

Few political defeats have been quite so stark as the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party’s near-obliteration at the November 8 polls.

In an outcome that few had predicted the scope of, the USDP parliamentarians will occupy just an 8 percent slice of the next Pyidaungsu Hluttaw’s elected seats, down from the 78pc bloc they claimed in the largely discredited 2010 election that brought them to power.


Women leaders welcome increase in regional MPs – Maung Zaw Thursday, 19 November

Domestic violence is one of the issues that might be brought up now that the number of female representatives in Mandalay Region Hluttaw has risen from one to four.

The election of three new female members in last week’s election – all members of the National League for Democracy, as is the re-elected female member – could direct hluttaw’s attention to gender issues, they say.


Moody’s views NLD landslide as credit positive – Clare Hammond Wednesday, 18 November

The National League for Democracy’s landslide win in the November 8 election is credit positive for the sovereign, according to Moody’s rating agency.

A credit rating can help individuals, businesses or governments to raise money. In the case of governments, securing a credit rating is often the first step toward accessing international financing through the bond market. Myanmar is not rated by any of the three main international agencies – Moody’s, Fitch Ratings or Standard & Poor’s. However, earlier this year the Central Bank of Myanmar engaged Citigroup and Standard Chartered to advise on a debut rating.


Voxpop: Taking the political temperature Wednesday, 18 November

How do you think the transition of power will go, and what will be the priorities over the next few months?

"I think the stability of the country during this period of political change depends on how the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, the current government and the military regard Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD’s victory."


Speaker urges election losers to work for country’s future and a strong legacy – Swan Ye Htut Tuesday, 17 November

Outgoing Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann has urged his fellow MPs, including those who, like him, lost their seats in last week’s landslide for the National League for Democracy, to be “faithful and dutiful” in the remaining two months of this parliament’s term.

Thura U Shwe Mann conceded defeat in his hometown constituency of Pyu, Bago Region, early on Monday, November 9, the morning after being heavily defeated by his NLD opponent and former classmate U Than Nyunt.


NLD committed to financial sector reform: party adviser – Aye Thidar Kyaw Tuesday, 17 November

A National League for Democracy spokesperson says the party is committed to financial sector reform, while industry sources say their hopes are pinned on lower inflation, a stronger local currency, Central Bank autonomy and greater transparency.

The election result has removed a huge amount of political risk for financial institutions and markets, which “depend on trust and other ephemeral aspects of a country’s political economy”, said Sean Turnell, who is advising the party on economic policy.


Spoiled for choice, Chin voters seek unity and hope in NLD – Nyan Lynn Aung Tuesday, 17 November

A proliferation of ethnic parties split the vote in Chin State, ushering in a victory for the National League for Democracy with the support of voters who demanded change, political observers in the state believe.

The failure of ethnic Chin parties to unite may have cost them representation in the national and local parliaments. Some party officials say they are now considering how to move forward and make themselves more electable in future polls.


NLD alleges dirty tricks in Pyawbwe – Kyaw Ko Ko Tuesday, 17 November

The National League for Democracy claims that the ruling party’s four-seat victory in Mandalay’s Pyabwe township was aided by a combination of electoral fraud and religious persuasion.On the day before the elections, with campaigning officially over, pamphlets appeared urging voters not to opt for the NLD. A rumour quickly spread online accusing the largest opposition party of standing against Buddhism.


Mandalay complaint- free, says election commission – Si Thu Lwin Tuesday, 17 November

Despite public accusations of foul play on election day, the Mandalay Region election commission says it is yet to receive any formal complaints.

Regional commission chair U Aung Htut said the only complaint that had been lodged was about the alleged tearing-up of a voter list, which took place before the election. “If we get complaints, a transparent investigation will be conducted by the election dispute resolution tribunals formed by the Union Election Commission,” he said yesterday.


Defeated minister urges unity – or else – Htoo Thant Tuesday, 17 November

Bidding farewell to his constituents, outgoing Union Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation U Myint Hlaing urged them to live in peace under the new government. But he warned during the meeting, in Dekkhinathiri township, Nay Pyi Taw, that the army would have to get involved in the event of “riots and turmoil”.

“The Tatmadaw must certainly be involved if riots and turmoil, based on civil war or instability, occur,” he told supporters on November 15.


Who saw that coming? An astrologer enters the next Mandalay Region hluttaw – Khin Su Wai Tuesday, 17 November

As an astrologer and descendant of the court Brahmins, U Aung Shwe was not surprised by his election victory, even if he was the only winning candidate from the Democratic Party (Myanmar).

He contested in a narrow field, netting his regional hluttaw seat in Mandalay’s Chan Aye Thar San township by besting just two others – the ruling party’s U Ko Ko Htwe and independent U Myint Thein. U Aung Shwe took the seat by a wide margin, capturing 25,551 votes to the independent’s 11,219, with Union Solidarity and Development candidate trailing the field on 8743.


President to parties: Stability during transition is responsibility of all – Ei Ei Toe Lwin Monday, 16 November

As if to reflect the sea change that has overtaken the country’s politics in the past week, representatives of the National League for Democracy – still officially the opposition party – were seated at the head of the table at yesterday’s meeting with President U Thein Sein.

The president had convened the meeting, with representatives of all 91 parties that contested the November 8 election, to assure them that he would oversee a smooth transition of power in a process that will continue until the opening months of next year.


NLD ‘not worried’ about campaign funds – Yola Verbruggen Monday, 16 November

Seated under a peacock flag in the National League for Democracy office just outside Yangon city centre, U Win Htein, a senior NLD member, laughingly dismisses concerns that his party’s win could be challenged by the election commission’s strict rules on campaign funding.

“We’re not worried,” he said, as he contently leaned back in his chair. “The people have shown their desire for change. The old structure must be removed. The titans have fallen.” In 1990, about 80 of the NLD’s candidates were disqualified after the race for alleged non-compliance with campaign funding regulations. Having learnt from history, the NLD has made sure that, this year, its candidates kept their books well.


National reconciliation top priority and toughest challenge – Lun Min Mang Monday, 16 November

National reconciliation – set by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as the main task of the government she is to form following her party’s landslide election victory – is seen as the key to unlocking the military’s decades-long grip on political power.

Senior National League for Democracy officials have confirmed to The Myanmar Times that this top priority will be founded on a political process involving a dialogue between all the armed ethnic groups, political parties, the government and the Tatmadaw. The objective is to resolve the nation’s internal conflicts.


Opinion: Getting to grips with the future – Nicholas Farrelly Monday, 16 November

With tens of millions of ballots cast and countless futures pondered, it has all come to this. Myanmar is forced to watch and wait as the National League for Democracy manoeuvres itself closer to power.

As the final results of the November 8 vote are tallied, what happens next will determine how much respect Myanmar’s reformers can demand from their own people, and from the rest of the world.


Ethnic parties fall short of expectations – Fiona MacGregor Monday, 16 November

In the final days before the election, many analysts were predicting the National League for Democracy might struggle to get an absolute majority in parliament, where the military is allocated 25 percent of seats in both houses. Some pundits suggested that identity politics would play a major role and that Myanmar’s ethnic parties, able to rely on deep-seated voter loyalty, would end up as king-makers.

But amid widespread jubilation over the scale of the NLD’s landslide, results show most ethnic parties did not do well. People are already asking what went wrong.


Voxpop: What do you think will happen during the transition of power? Monday, 16 November

“I’m worried that the military government will not cede power. They have controlled the country for more than 50 years, so it will be hard for them to let go. But no matter what happens, we, the people of Myanmar, will never support violence. We will control ourselves and stay peaceful." – Ko Thant Kyaw Oo, 21, student


Election like a return of ‘rightful owners’: Ko Min Ko Naing – Wa Lone Monday, 16 November

"It’s as if the rightful owners have come back to claim their property, rather than that one party has defeated another. In 1988, people came out onto the streets to protest. On [November 8], they demonstrated silently at the polling station. In 1988, people’s bodies were stained with blood. On [November 8], people’s little fingers were stained with ink. This was a historic development, and we’ve seen the results. The point is, what to do now."

Wa Lone, senior reporter for The Myanmar Times, interviews 88 Generation (Open Society) leader Ko Min Ko Naing about the post-election political landscape.


NLD wins absolute majority in parliament – Guy Dinmore Friday, 13 November

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy has secured an absolute majority in the combined houses of parliament which guarantees her party has the numbers to secure her choice of the next president.

Official results posted by the Union Election Commission at noon on Friday showed that with nearly 85 percent of all seats declared from the November 8 elections for the national, state and regional parliaments, the NLD had so far secured 238 seats in the Union lower house and 110 seats in the upper house.


NLD leader holds key to stability – Ei Ei Toe Lwin Friday, 13 November

The elections have been widely acclaimed as peaceful and historic, but many remain worried about the prospects for a smooth transfer of power to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s government over the next four months.

Despite assurances from President U Thein Sein and the Tatmadaw that the results will be respected, people still fear a repeat of the 1990 elections when the military junta refused to recognise a similar NLD landslide and filled the prisons with its leaders and supporters. Politicians and analysts may be less worried about a rejection of the results, but they are concerned about provocations that could create instability during the transition period up to March 2016.


The biggest loser: What does the future hold for the NDP? – Yola Verbruggen Friday, 13 November

After bursting onto the political scene in July, the National Development Party surprised many observers by fielding 354 candidates – the fourth-highest total in the November 8 election.

But since November 8 there has been a deafening silence from the party. With Daw Aung Sau Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy sweeping up a large majority of the seats, the NDP appears to have lost out. Or has it? U Khin Maung Zaw, a former military officer who is now an adviser to the NDP, said the party never targeted winning seats in this year’s vote.


Officers voted on behalf of soldiers, say election observers – Maung Zaw Friday, 13 November

Officers voted on behalf of their soldiers in Meiktila, the scene of a rare apparent win by the Union Solidarity and Development Party in the November 8 election. The accusation was made yesterday by the Election Observer Network-Mandalay, and relates to advance votes.

U Thiha of EON-M said, “More than 10,000 advance votes were cast by the military in Meiktila district. We found that these were cast not by voters, but on their behalf.”


Election commission takes stand on Lashio vote – Wa Lone Friday, 13 November

After controversy over advance votes embarrassed the “dignity” of the winning candidate, the Shan State election sub-commission yesterday clarified the result: Vice President Sai Mauk Kham won fairly.

The National League for Democracy, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, and the Shan Nationalities and Development Party jointly filed a complaint about the Lashio township count after advance votes changed the tide in favour of the Union Solidarity and Development Party candidate. Sai Mauk Kham was confirmed the winner, just barely surpassing the NLD candidate with 30,909 votes to 26,726. Without the advance votes, the vice president’s lead was just 383 votes.


Two suspended from UNFC – Lun Min Mang Friday, 13 November

The Pa-Oh National Liberation Organization and the Chin National Front have been temporarily suspended by the United Nationalities Federal Council, an umbrella organisation for armed ethnic groups. The two groups were under no illusions about why they had been booted from the UNFC.

“The main reason is we signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement while they refused to sign it,” PNLO patron Colonel Khun Okkar said.


OPINION: After vote, NLD eyes presidential proxy – Chit Win/New Mandala Friday, 13 November

At a glance, it looks like a smooth transition for Myanmar and high hopes for democratic change under the leadership of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The problem is that it is not that simple. Despite leading her party to what looks like a resounding victory, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is not going to be the next president of Myanmar. She is constitutionally barred from the office because of her two sons, who are not Myanmar citizens.


Taunggyi results fuel concerns over irregularities – Fiona Macgregor, Wa Lone Friday, 13 November

Further controversy has emerged over alleged advanced military voting irregularities in Shan State capital’s Taunnggyi township, after latest results showed a significant difference between votes for the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party for the lower house seat and votes for the party in the two state parliament seats.

The USDP won just 45,408 votes for the lower house – far behind the 65,799 garnered by the winning candidate from the National League for Democracy. But when it came to votes for the township’s two state hluttaw seats, USDP support appears to have almost doubled to 88,027.


USDP reportedly ahead in eastern Shan – Yola Verbruggen Friday, 13 November

The Union Solidarity and Development Party appears to have found a stronghold – in one of the most distant corners of the country. Election results in eastern Shan State have been slow to emerge but official figures from local sources show the ruling party ahead in many seats, much to the chagrin of local ethnic candidates.


Welcome to Mandalay’s class of ’15 – Khin Su Wai, RJ Vogt Friday, 13 November

Every few hours, election officials announce a few more election results, transforming hopeful candidates into members of the next parliament. Most of them represent the National League for Democracy. And most have never served in a parliament or government.

Take, for example, U Than Win, the 62-year old retired rector from Mandalay University’s Department of Medicine. Pending final confirmation, he has won one of Mandalay’s 12 Amyotha Hluttaw seats, covering a large chunk of the urban centre. The long-time NLD supporter said he had always donated to the local party office, helping out where he could and becoming familiar with many of the organisers. When the party began to select candidates, he said he would be glad to run. They accepted.


Obama calls NLD leader, president – Lun Min Mang, Guy Dinmore Thursday, 12 November 

US President Barack Obama has congratulated Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on her landslide victory and later called U Thein Sein to commend the government for holding successful elections, according to spokesmen for victor and loser.

Yesterday morning, Mr Obama called U Thein Sein to congratulate him on the holding of a successful and “free and fair” election, according to U Ye Htut, spokesperson for the Myanmar president.



Election Analysis: Ethnic parties fail to live up to expectations
– Fiona MacGregor Thursday, 12 November 

Just a week ago, many analysts were predicting the election result would be a close call between the NLD and the USDP-military alliance. Some pundits suggested neither would have an absolute majority in parliament and that Myanmar’s ethnic parties, able to rely on deep-seated voter loyalty, would end up as king-makers.

But amid widespread jubilations over the scale of the National League for Democracy’s victory, initial results would suggest most of the ethic parties have not done well. People are already asking what went wrong.



President to meet political parties on Sunday
– Lun Min Mang Thursday, 12 November 

President U Thein Sein has called political parties to a meeting in Yangon on November 15 to discuss the post-election political situation, party sources say.

The letter follows the president’s offering of congratulations to the National League for Democracy in the November 8 national election and his acceptance of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s offer of talks, which will likely be held next week.



Obama congratulates U Thein Sein over elections
– Lun Min Mang Thursday, 12 November 

US President Barack Obama has called and congratulated U Thein Sein and his government for holding a successful “free and fair” election, according to U Ye Htut, spokesperson for the Myanmar president. U Ye Htut posted news of the call, which took place about 8:30am Myanmar time, on Facebook shortly afterward.

“The success of the election is a milestone for the president’s legacy. The reforms that President U Thein Sein has bravely started have brought the country a brighter future, and the government of the United States will continue to cooperate with the government of Myanmar,” U Ye Htut's post said.


NLD leader seeks talks on transition – Lun Min Mang Thursday, 12 November 

The president and the Tatmadaw commander-in-chief have congratulated Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on her party’s election victory and agreed to her request to hold talks following the crushing defeat of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party.

Expressing his intention to cooperate with the opposition National League for Democracy in a transition process that will take several months, President U Thein Sein was cited in a letter penned yesterday by his spokesperson U Ye Htut as saying the government wanted a peaceful transfer, and would honour the people’s will and the election results.


U Wirathu ‘surprised’ by strong NLD victory – RJ Vogt, Khin Su Wai Thursday, 12 November 

After throwing his support behind President U Thein Sein and the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, a figurehead of the powerful Buddhist nationalist group Ma Ba Tha could only express shock yesterday at reports of a landslide National League for Democracy victory.

“I never thought that the NLD would win this many townships,” U Wirathu said during an interview at his Masoe-yin monastery quarters in Mandalay. “I expected many parties to enter into the hluttaw. I am very surprised.”


YCDC nets K50 million from party posters – Zay Yar Lin Thursday, November 12 

Advertising hoardings taken over by political parties for the duration of the campaign have now all been cleared of their partisan posters, Yangon city authorities announced yesterday. Yangon City Development Committee also announced that the political publicity spree had brought in a tidy sum, nudging K50 million, in taxes.


Armed groups call on NLD to promote peace – Ye Mon Thursday, 12 November 

Two armed ethnic groups fighting the Tatmadaw in Shan State have called on a future NLD government to push forward the peace process.

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) yesterday congratulated the National League for Democracy on its victory in the November 8 elections and said it hoped an NLD government, which will only take office next March, would lead the peace process to success and stop all fighting in Myanmar.


UEC chair hits out at ‘lawless’ criticism – Swan Ye Htut Thursday, November 12 

Criticism of the Union Election Commission should stay within the law to avoid creating anarchy, commission chair U Tin Aye said yesterday.

While claiming he was happy to tolerate criticism directed at him, the tone of recent commentary had been unfair, he said. In particular, he expressed unhappiness at the anger over widespread errors on the voter list.


Communal violence haunts Meiktila vote – Maung Zaw Thursday, 12 November 

Haunted by a legacy of communal violence after religious tensions rent through the township in 2013, voters in Meiktila have swung decisively for the ruling party.

Voters yesterday told The Myanmar Times they felt the Union Solidarity and Development Party representatives were a better option for their security. The township’s sizeable Muslim community is believed to have bolstered the results in favour of the USDP. The choice appears to be a surprising one, given the ruling party’s links to anti-Muslim hardliners from Ma Ba Tha, and the lobby group’s attempt before the polls to wield their political clout against the NLD, castigating Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as a Muslim sympathiser.


Political prisoners will be our first priority, says NLD – Wa Lone Thursday, 12 November 

With attention quickly shifting from the election to a looming transfer of power, a National League for Democracy spokesperson has told The Myanmar Times that freeing political prisoners will be at the top of the party’s list of priorities when it takes office.

He said it would be one of a number of important steps the party would take in the interests of national reconciliation and the peace process.


Election Commission considers recount in delta seat – Swan Ye Htut Thursday, November 12 

A hotly contested seat in the delta may be subject to a recount after a party representative and the township election officials came up with wildly divergent ballot tallies – and a different result.

The National League for Democracy representative present for the Kyaunggon township count said that according to his count the party’s candidates for the Pyithu Hluttaw and the Ayeyarwady Region Hluttaw seat of Kyaunggon 1 were narrowly victorious. The township officials inked in the Union Solidarity and Development Party candidates as the winners, however.


Defeat a bitter pill for USDP supporters – Aung Shin Thursday, 12 November 

The general election is drawing to a peaceful close with a stunning result for supporters of the National League for Democracy. But others are not so happy and, in Magwe Region, they say defeat will not end the matter.

The election was the most exciting and anticipated seen in Myanmar, with high expectations both inside and outside the country. Many observers had in recent months expressed doubt about the future of its transition to democracy under the military-backed, quasi-civilian government of President U Thein Sein.


Bago a hotspot for election complaints – Aung Kyaw Nyunt Thursday, November 12 

Bago Region was a hotspot for election complaints submitted through monitoring application Kyeet and its accompanying website, the Myanmar ICT for Development Organisation says.

Ma Htaike Htaike Aung, program manager for MIDO, said more than 200 reports of problems or irregularities were received during the election, of which about 40 percent were from Bago.


Ex-minister’s agent denies seeking recount – Pyae Thet Phyo Thursday, 12 November 

Pipped at the post in Pobbathiri township, Nay Pyi Taw, despite an influx of military votes, the agent of former defence minister U Wi Lwin yesterday denied demanding a recount. The seat was taken by U Ye Mon, also known as Maung Tin Thit, with a bare margin of 176 votes.

But U Nay Aung, the agent for Union Solidarity and Development Party candidate U Wai Lwin, said he has filed a formal complaint with the Union Election Commission over incidents in the polling station during voting on November 8.


Ethnic parties crash and burn in Kayah – Matthieu Baudey, Carole Oudot Thursday, 12 November 

While the National League for Democracy swept most of the seats in Kayah State, the three main ethnic political parties did not manage to secure any seats, unlike in other ethnic States. Despite their hopes, no candidate from the Kayan National Party (KNP), the Kayah Unity Democratic Party (KUDP), or the All Nationals’ Democratic Party (ANDP) were elected on November 8.

“We are not disappointed. We came second in some constituencies, before the Union Solidarity and Development Party. That’s a good sign for the future,” said Khun Bedhu, campaign manager for the KNP.


Women’s Party takes few votes but vows to stand again – Fiona MacGregor, Shwe Yee Saw Myint Thursday, 12 November 

The only party in Myanmar standing specifically on women’s issues has claimed just a small number of votes, but its founder remains optimistic and says the party will stand again at the next election when she expects they will be much more successful.

Daw Mi Than Shin, founder of the Women Party (Mon), one of the smallest parties standing in the election with just four candidates, told The Myanmar Times that the party had lost in all townships where they had stood, garnering between just 100 and 800 votes in each area.


UEC chair hits out at ‘lawless’ criticism – Swan Ye Htut Wednesday, November 11 

Criticism of the Union Election Commission should stay within the law to avoid creating anarchy, commission chair U Tin Aye said yesterday.

While claiming he was happy to tolerate criticism directed at him, the tone of recent commentary had been unfair, he said. In particular, he expressed unhappiness at the anger over widespread errors on the voter list. He said the commission had done it best with the highly flawed voter lists from elections in 2010 and 2012.


Myanmar military congratulates NLD for election win – Lun Min Mang Wednesday, November 11 

The Tatmadaw has congratulated the National League for Democracy for its landslide victory in the November 8 general election.

A statement was posted a few minutes ago to the Facebook account of the military's media portal, Myawady. “We would like to congratulate the National League for Democracy because it is leading in the election results,” the statement said.


Ex-minister’s agent denies seeking recount – Pyae Thet Phyo Wednesday, November 11 

Pipped at the post in Pobbathiri township, Nay Pyi Taw, despite an influx of military votes, the agent of former defence minister U Wi Lwin yesterday denied demanding a recount. The seat was taken by U Ye Mon, also known as Maung Tin Thit, with a bare margin of 176 votes.

Election commissioners refused to recount the votes. Military personnel cast more than 7000 of the votes in the constituency. Crucially, 100 of them voted for U Ye Mon rather than U Wai Lwin – a decision that decided the seat.


Kyaunggon township count questioned – Shwe Yee Saw Myint Wednesday, November 11 

A hotly contested vote in the delta may be subject to a recount after a party representative and the township election officials came up with wildly divergent ballot tallies, leading to different winners.

The National League for Democracy representative present for the Kyaunggon township count said by his watch, the party’s candidates for Pyithu Hluttaw and the Region Hluttaw (1) were narrowly victorious. The party recorded U Aung Kyaw Naing as taking the lower house seat by a margin of just 399 votes, while U Ba Ohn won the regional seat by 1,691 votes. The township officials inked in the Union Solidarity and Development Party candidates as the winners, however.

The opposition party’s candidates have so far refused to sign form 19s validating the township winners, he said, which has delayed Kyaunggon’s announcement.


President congratulates NLD, promises peaceful power transfer – Lun Min Mang Wednesday, November 11 

President U Thein Sein has congratulated the National League for Democracy on its landslide victory in the November 8 vote and promised a peaceful transfer of power, the party said. The NLD said in a statement this afternoon that Minister for Information U Ye Htut, a presidential spokesperson, congratulated the party for its win on behalf of U Thein Sein.

“In accordance with the Union Election Commission’s election results announcement, I would like to congratulate you, the NLD, for leading the race for parliamentary seats,” the NLD quoted U Ye Htut as saying. “In honour of the citizens’ desire, the government will pursue a peaceful transfer in accordance with the legislated timeline.”


Government accepts offer for reconciliation talks – Lun Min Mang Wednesday, November 11 

The government has agreed to a request from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to meet for “national reconciliation” talks, a spokesperson said.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday wrote to President U Thein Sein, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann and Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing requesting a meeting next week. Presidential spokesperson U Ye Htut posted on his official Facebook account that the government had accepted the offer.


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi invites military, president to ‘national reconciliation’ talks – Lun Min Mang Wednesday, November 11 

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has written to President U Thein Sein, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann and Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing requesting a meeting next week to hold talks for “national reconciliation”.

As of 9am this morning, official results from the Union Election Commission put the NLD at 182 seats in the 664-seat Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, which contains 166 military personnel. Other parties, including the Union Solidarity and Development Party, have won a combined tally of 18 seats, with one independent.


Election Analysis: NLD looking to repeat 1990 landslide – Myanmar Times reporters Wednesday, November 11 

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy seems on track for a repeat of its 1990 landslide election victory, with results from about 30 percent of all seats officially declared last night. Partial results released by the Union Election Commission up to 9pm yesterday showed that the NLD had won 289 out of 333 seats announced so far, including those for regional and state assemblies.

“The times have changed, the people have changed,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent 15 years under house arrest, told the BBC in her first interview since the November 8 vote.


Preliminary Pyithu Hlttaw results, as of the morning of Wednesday, November 11


Myanmar polls a success: international observers – Catherine Trautwein, Simon Widmer Wednesday, November 11 

Despite criticism of Myanmar’s “flawed” constitutional framework, international observers yesterday gave a largely positive appraisal of the elections, commending a well-run election day while highlighting major issues such as an opaque system of advance voting.

“All in all, we believe that the voting process on election day was a success and we continue to observe those aspects to which we could not have access and those aspects that are ongoing, including the tabulation of the results,” said Jason Carter of the Carter Center election observation organisation.


Ma Ba Tha pledges support for election winner – Aung Kyaw Min Wednesday, November 11 

The hardline Buddhist nationalist Ma Ba Tha has issued its support for the next government, albeit in slightly guarded and defiant terms.

“We will welcome and support any party that takes office. But we will be watching what the next government does for race and religion, whether it is USDP or NLD. We will check and balance the new government for the protection of race and religion. We will guide the government if it fails to act in the interests of the race and religion. And we will not accept any insults to race and religion. That is our policy,” said U Sopaka, a senior member of the Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion.


Roll errors prompt threat of legal action – Zaw Zaw Htwe Wednesday, November 11 

A city official in Mandalay Region has offered to provide legal support to voters who were denied the right to cast their ballots because their names were excluded from the voter list. U Wint Thu, chair of Myingyan City Development Committee, said nearly 700 voters were denied ballot papers in the township on election day.

He told reporters on November 9 that local ward or village election commissions had failed to pass on voters’ applications to have their names restored to defective voter lists, and offered to help them charge the officials with dereliction of duty.


Huge voter list failings mar NLD win in largest township – Ei Ei Thu Wednesday, November 11 

The National League for Democracy says it has won a thumping victory in Hlaing Tharyar township, the country’s most heavily populated constituency. But the win was marred by the exclusion of tens of thousands of voters who were unable to cast their ballots because of problems with the electoral roll.

Turnout in Hlaing Tharyar’s 563 polling stations was estimated at just 150,000 - about one-third of all voters.


The silent vote: Little clarity on Rakhine results – Kayleigh Long, Myat Nyein Aye Wednesday, November 11 

The complete picture of the election outcome in Rakhine State remained elusive yesterday, with local commissions revealing results for just a fraction of seats.

The state commission confirmed seats in a small handful of townships, including the National League for Democracy victory in Thandwe in the south and the Arakan National Party’s sweep of Ponnagyun and Rathedaung in the north.


Last-minute orders and a lack of transparency – Fiona MacGregor and Zayar Linn Wednesday, November 11 

It all started so promisingly. At the election commission office for Taunggyi district in the Shan State capital, district chair U Tin Oo was running operations with remarkable openness and transparency over an area that included more than 680,000 registered voters and 659 polling stations.

By 11pm on polling night he sat in his office, despondent. At 6pm – two hours after vote counting had begun, with initial signs pointing to a major National League for Democracy victory in the Pyithu Hluttaw – he had, he said, received a sudden instruction from the Union Election Commission in Nay Pyi Taw that his services were no longer required.


After controversy, VP squeaks through – Ye Mon Wednesday, November 11 

Following disputes over advance votes and the request by some parties to annul the early ballots, Lashio district and township election officials called the results: the Union Solidarity and Development Party has two more victories in its corner.

Vice President U Sai Mauk Kham won the Pyithu Hluttaw spot, while former Shan State security and border affairs minister U Aung Thu nabbed a spot in the state hluttaw, according to the township commission. Both represented the USDP. The Pyithu Hluttaw seat was a close call, with U Sai Mauk Kham sneaking ahead of National League for Democracy candidate U Tun Shwe by just a handful of votes, 30,909 to 26,726.


Jobs done, trucked-in teachers begin leaving Laukkai – Sandar Lwin, Thu Thu Aung Wednesday, November 11 

The holding of the November 8 election in the Kokang region was designed to show normalcy had returned under martial law, following months of heavy fighting.

But yesterday, with the votes counted and the results announced, there was a stark reminder of the continued conflict in the region, which has seen the Tatmadaw and rebels from the ethnic Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army clash repeatedly since February.


NLD claims all seats in Magwe – Nay Aung Wednesday, November 11 

Tack another potential victory up for the National League for Democracy – the Magwe Region office is reporting all 25 townships have gone red.

“We won 100 percent,” said U Nay Myo Kyaw, secretary of the local NLD office. The official results for Magwe have not been so comprehensive – covering only about 15 of the townships – but so far are lining up as an NLD sweep.


NLD claims all seats in Magwe – Ye Mon Wednesday, November 11 

The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy is claiming as many as 39 hluttaw seats in Shan State. Their main nemesis appears to be the National League for Democracy.

“We’ve won 12 seats in Pyithu Hluttaw, 24 in Shan State hluttaw, and one in Kachin State. We are waiting to hear about our two candidates for the Amyotha Hluttaw,” a party spokesperson said.


Drama in NPT as commission rejects ex-minister’s petition for vote recount – Ei Ei Toe Lwin, Pyae Thet Phyo Wednesday, November 11 

Township election commission officials in Pobbathiri yesterday rejected a last-ditch attempt from former defence minister U Wai Lwin to stave off defeat. Figures from the township commission show him behind to U Ye Mon, a poet better known as Maung Tin Thit, from the National League for Democracy.

U Wai Lwin had cited “electoral fraud” as the justification for recounting the votes from the three stations. He submitted three letters of complaint to the township election commission yesterday morning, outlining cases of alleged irregularities. U Ye Mon has 27,321 votes to U Wai Lwin’s 27,145.


SNLD pre-empts official count, calls Muse victory – Nyein Ei Ei Htwe, Myat Noe Oo Wednesday, November 11 

The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy is claiming victory in Muse township, though the official results have yet to be announced.

By the district election commission’s tabulation, they won Muse’s Pyithu Hluttaw seat and scored a Shan State Hluttaw win as well – both by a solid margin above the next closest contestant.


Palaung party wins in Namkhan – Myat Noe Oo Wednesday, November 11 

The limits of the NLD’s popularity have been found, way up in northern Shan State. The Ta’ang Palaung National Party has emerged victorious in Namkhan township, on the border with China, according to unofficial results provided by the township commission, with the NLD finishing last out of five parties.

But the Palaung party only came out on top because the two ethnic Shan parties, the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party and the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, split the vote. The Union Solidarity and Development Party came close behind in fourth, while the National League for Democracy was dead last by some way.


Slow counting in eastern Shan frustrates parties – Yola Verbruggen Wednesday, November 11 

A member of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy has expressed exasperation at the slow pace of the vote count in eastern Shan State after she had been present at the election commission office in Kengtung for two nights to observe the tallying with still no results announced.

“Yesterday [November 9] they told us results would be in at 3pm, then at 7pm and then they just said they would go home,” said the SNLD member, who requested anonymity.


Doctor knocks off Sagaing chief – Kyaw Ko Ko Wednesday, November 11 

Budalin township, Sagaing Region, has gone heavily for the National League for Democracy, according to the party’s candidate there.

U Kyaw Zaw Lin said he had won by a landslide, taking 68 percent of the vote, and beating five other candidates, including the current chief minister of the region, U Thar Aye, who was running for the Union Solidarity and Development Party.


NLD wins western Sagaing Region seats – Than Naing Soe Wednesday, November 11 

Kalay township in Sagaing is done counting votes, logging yet another win for the National League for Democracy.

Daw Aye Aye Mu, also known as Sharr Mi, netted nearly three times as many ballots for the NLD as the next Pyithu Hluttaw contestant in Kalay, with 101,821 to U Tin Hlaing from the ruling party’s 35,156. She also defeated candidates from the Zomi Congress for Democracy, the Myanmar Farmers Development Party and the National Unity Party.


NLD, USDP claim large shares in Kachin – Aye Thidar Kyaw and Htin Lynn Aung Wednesday, November 11 

The National League for Democracy says it has won around 70 percent of seats across Kachin State, while the Union Solidarity and Development Party has claimed 16 seats. Full official results are not expected until tomorrow, however.

In the state capital Myitkyina, the NLD says it won the Pyithu Hluttaw seat by a considerable margin, with 48,986 votes to the Union Solidarity and Development Party’s 26,812. In the Amyotha Hluttaw the NLD says it received 49,882 votes while the USDP won 18,882.


Huge margin for NLD as party takes out Monywa – Kyaw Ko Ko Wednesday, November 11 

In what has become a familiar pattern across the country, voters in Monywa township, Sagaing Region, voted by lopsided margins for the National League for Democracy, swamping the brief and small early lead established by the Union Solidarity and Development Party in advance voting.


Complaints advance votes cost seats in delta – Shwe Yee Saw Myint
Wednesday, November 11 

While the National League for Democracy has largely cruised through the ruling party heartland, voters in three townships bucked the trend and didn’t elect the fighting peacock. The party claims an influx of advance votes changed the course of the tide.

Kyaunggon, Ngapudaw and Kangyidaunt sported the only Union Solidarity and Development Party victories in the region’s 26 townships, most of which unanimously voted red, according to U Myo Nyunt, chair of the regional NLD office.


NLD wins two of three seats in tight Kalewa race – Than Naing Soe
Wednesday, November 11 

KALEWA, SAGAING REGION

Unofficial but apparently complete results have just come in from Kalewa township in western Sagaing Region have given the National League for Democracy two more seats, with the Union Solidarity and Development Party claiming one regional parliament seat.

The NLD got the most votes in Kalewa for Sagaing Region Amyotha Hluttaw seat 8, which also includes neighbouring Kalay and Mingin townships.


NLD on track for landslide as more results come in – Myanmar Times Reporters
Tuesday, November 10

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy is on track for a repeat of its 1990 landslide election victory with results from more than 20 percent of all seats officially declared.

A further batch of results released by the Union Election Commission at 3.00pm showed that with 21.5pc of seats declared – including those for state and regional assemblies – the NLD had won 220 out of 252. The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party was on 17, while five ethnic minority parties totalled 15 seats between them.


Anger as advance votes push USDP to lead in Lashio – Ye Mon
Tuesday, November 10

Lashio candidates for the National League for Democracy and two Shan parties joined forces yesterday in calling for the annulment of advance votes that appeared set to give victory to the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) for all seats in the township.

Vote-counting – broadcast live on Skynet – had earlier appeared to put the NLD on track for an upset victory in the Pyithu Hluttaw against USDP candidate Vice President Sai Mauk Kham. A low turnout has heightened the impact of the advance votes on the result of the poll.


NLD takes Thandwe but Rakhine party claims north – Kayleigh Long, Myat Nyein AyeTuesday, November 10

The National League for Democracy appeared to have swept Thandwe township yesterday, taking all four available seats – in some cases by a convincing margin.


In Kayah, USDP shows grace in defeat – Wa Lone
Tuesday, November 10

Union Solidarity and Development Party officials in Kayah State have praised the conduct and outcome of the November 8 vote, saying they had no complaints despite winning only seven of 34 seats.

Results were mixed for two high-profile independents, U Aung Min and U Soe Thein – both ministers in the President’s Office – with the former losing in Shadaw, and the latter claiming a seat in Bawlakhe. The NLD said it won the remaining 26 seats in the state.


UEC frustrates with lack of results – Ei Ei Toe Lwin, Swan Ye Htut, Pyae Thet Phyo
Tuesday, November 10

Confident of having secured a landslide victory, the opposition National League for Democracy is being frustrated by the slow release of officially sanctioned results by the Union Election Commission.

The UEC, headed by ex-general U Tin Aye, says it is working with full transparency and yesterday promised that results would be released at three-hourly intervals throughout the day. But by last night it had only confirmed outcomes in 28 out of 330 townships.


PACE praises competitiveness of election – Tin Yadanar Tun
Tuesday, November 10

The November 8 vote was a tranquil affair and the most competitive electoral event in Myanmar since 1990, with 33 million eligible voters choosing from among more than 600 candidates representing 91 political parties, according to a report released by the People’s Alliance for Credible Elections.

At a press conference held yesterday, PACE chief executive officer Ko Sai Ye Kyaw Swar Myint said political leaders were “openly contesting and competing” for votes.


Security concerns delay result in Kokang region – Thu Thu Aung, Sandar Lwin
Tuesday, November 10

Initial results from Laukkai township in the conflict-hit Kokang region of northeastern Shan State indicate a Union Solidarity and Development Party victory but the result is far from confirmed, electoral officials and candidates said yesterday evening.

Four seats were up for grabs – one in the Pyithu Hluttaw, one in the Amyotha Hluttaw and two in the Shan State Hluttaw – with just the USDP and Shan State Kokang Democracy Party competing.


‘Hometown hero’ pitch fails for USDP – Laignee Barron Tuesday, November 10

The man once tipped by a leaked US cable as “Burma’s dictator in waiting” may be seeing his presidential chances once again elusively slip through his fingers.

Yesterday morning, before many were awake and ballot counting was still far from complete, Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann dipped out of the race, acknowledging in a message on Facebook that his National League for Democracy rival had already won the seat.


No sweet goodbye for outspoken USDP man – Laignee Barron
Tuesday, November 10

Some candidates bowed out the race gracefully as they were defeated yesterday, while others bid a sour farewell to the 2015 election heat.U Hla Swe, a Union Solidarity and Development Party Amyotha Hluttaw representative who failed to hold on to his seat, appeared to fall into the latter category yesterday.

“I accomplished many achievements that proved how much I worked selflessly and to the best of my ability for the benefit of the people in this area.


Unrest over pre-selection fails to stop NLD in Pakokku – Phyo Wai Kyaw, Hlaing Kyaw Soe
Tuesday, November 10

Despite widespread protests and dismissals from the party last August when the National League for Democracy imposed new candidates, the voters of Pakokku, Magwe Region, seem to have followed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s advice to elect the party, not the candidate.

As of last night, local NLD officials were predicting that the party would take all three hluttaw seats, with clear leads almost everywhere except for the military compound.


NLD cruising to win in Kalay – Than Naing Soe
Tuesday, November 10

The National League for Democracy appears to be cruising to victory in Sagaing Region’s Kalay, which was hit badly by floods in July and August.

Region hluttaw candidate Ma Than Wa Kyaw told The Myanmar Times yesterday evening that the NLD had won 160 of 173 polling stations in the township. Voting finished at 5am yesterday morning, but the township commission is yet to announce results, she said.


Residents question low turnout in Meiktila – Maung Zaw Tuesday, November 10

Around 80,000 eligible voters did not show up to polling stations in Meiktila, an official from the township election commission said on November 9 – in what may be a possible explanation for the National League for Democracy’s relatively poor showing.

Just 160,000 of the 259,225 names on the electoral roll cast their vote, he said.


Chin State: ‘The Lady gathered up all the votes’ – Nyan Lynn Aung
Tuesday, November 10

The National League for Democracy appears set to become the big winner in Chin State, initial results suggested yesterday.

Officials from the Chin State election commission in the state capital Hakha told The Myanmar Times that they would not announce any election results until today because the commission is still waiting for some votes to arrive from far-flung villages. Recent flooding has made transport extremely difficult in the state.


Count delays result in Hlaing Tharyar – Nyan Lynn Aung
Tuesday, November 10

Vote counting in the country’s biggest township, Yangon Region’s Hlaing Tharyar, will continue into a third day because of the task of collating results from so many polling stations, election commission officials said last night.

U Thein Soe, chair of the township election commission, said he hoped to finish the task today. “Because Hlaing Tharyar is the biggest township in Yangon we have to count many votes from 563 polling stations,” he said.


USDP loses Pyin Oo Lwin despite military voters – Si Thu Lwin Tuesday, November 10

It was expected to be a key battleground – and one in which the Union Solidarity and Development seemed to have an advantage, thanks to 18,000 military personnel, as well as their family members.

While military polling stations did indeed favour the USDP heavily, it wasn’t enough to stop the National League for Democracy claiming all four seats in Pyin Oo Lwin – including the scalp of Mandalay Region Chief Minister U Ye Myint, who was facing U Khin Maung Htay from the NLD in regional hluttaw seat 2.


NLD says sweep of seats in Hpa-an – Yola Verbruggen
Tuesday, November 10

Making inroads into areas where ethnic parties had high hopes of success, the National League for Democracy last night claimed victory in all but one seat in the three townships of Kayin State’s Hpa-an district.

The mood of NLD party officials changed significantly from November 8, when the evening ended with angry NLD members swearing under their breath at the township election commission’s office in Hpa-an when advance votes went in massive numbers to their main rival, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party.


Confirmed result delayed as NLD claims Myaungmya – Shwe Yee Saw Myint Tuesday, November 10

Deep in the Ayeyarwady delta, Myaungmya’s election commission has postponed announcing the winner of a fierce competition between strong rivals.

While National League for Democracy candidates say their party has won by a strong margin, officials say they need more time to count up the votes. Candidate for the regional hluttaw 2, Daw Khine Zin Oo, claimed the NLD had lost in just 14 of 301 polling stations.


Parties wait on Myitkyina counting – Aye Thidar Kyaw and Htin Linn Aung
Tuesday, November 10

The National League for Democracy claimed to have gained a majority of votes in half the polling stations in Myitkyina township yesterday, though was still trying to reach remote areas at the time of printing.

Indications from the NLD office at 8pm yesterday suggested they had won between 70 percent and 80pc of votes at 60 of 113 polling stations.


Daughter of first president carries on family mission – Fiona Macgregor Tuesday, November 10

“My father would have been pleased and happy about the current situation,” says Sao Haymar Thaike, daughter of the first president of the newly independent nation, Sao Shwe Thaik, an ethnic Shan.

“He started all this in 1947 and we were not able to carry on his work. Only now after more than 60 years are we able to talk about federalism again,” says the 70-year-old Shan women’s rights activist in the state capital Taunggyi.


Six people nabbed trying to vote for others – Toe Wai Aung
Tuesday, November 10

Six people in Yangon are facing a police investigation accused of voting on behalf of others. They have been charged under section 59(h) of the electoral law.

The investigations are proceeding. Nationally, Union Election Commission chair U Tin Aye said there had been 48 reported cases of electoral fraud or irregularities.


Only minor flaws on Nov 8: local monitors – Simon Widmer
Tuesday, November 10

Civil society organisation Charity-Oriented Myanmar says the elections were held in a peaceful manner and conducted according to the requirements set by the Union Election Commission. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the chief executive of the monitoring group said its members had found only what they called “minor flaws and incidents”.


Intimidation and lack of information off the beaten track in Shan State – Fiona MacGregor and Zayar Linn Tuesday, November 10

Despite the common wisdom that support for the National League for Democracy in ethnic areas is largely confined to the towns, with rural voters opting for their own ethnic representatives, support for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s party among the Pa-O community, the largest ethnic group in the district, appeared stronger than suggested. However, the likelihood of many of them being able to vote for their party of choice seemed remote.

there are two key issues that have prevented them from voting: intimidation and lack of understanding of how the voting system works.


NLD set to sweep Tanintharyi Region – Aye Nyein Win and Su Phyo Win Tuesday, November 10

The National League for Democracy is claiming victory over the Union Solidarity and Development Party in the four townships of Dawei district, Tanintharyi Region.


Q&A with Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission – Catherine Trautwein
Tuesday, November 10

Does voter exclusion call into question the integrity of the election?

We would have considered it positive if the election had been as inclusive as possible and we believe that that was not entirely the case.
Many of the ethnic minorities did not have any problem participating in the electoral process, either as voters or as candidates. Some groups did have that problem, both as voters and as candidates, and we encourage Myanmar in the next phase of its history to address the issue of who is a Myanmar citizen in a way that is more inclusive.


North/South: NLD takes Thandwe but ANP performs well – Kayleigh Long, Myat Nyein Aye
Tuesday, November 10

THANDWE, Rakhine State

The National League for Democracy appeared to have swept Thandwe township yesterday, taking all four available seats – in some cases by a convincing margin. However, its closest rival, the Arakan National Party, claimed a large swathe of seats in the state’s central and northern regions last night – results that could not be confirmed.


UEC frustrates NLD with slow release of results – Ei Ei Toe Lwin, Swan Ye Htut, Pyae Thet Phyo
Tuesday, November 10

Confident of having secured a landslide victory, the opposition National League for Democracy is being frustrated by the slow release of officially sanctioned results by the Union Election Commission.

The UEC, headed by ex-general U Tin Aye, says it is working with full transparency and yesterday promised that results would be released at three-hourly intervals throughout the day. But by last night it had only confirmed the outcome in 28 out of 330 townships.


UEC refuses to discuss advance votes at heated press conference – Ei Ei Toe Lwin Tuesday, November 10

A Union Election Commission press conference this afternoon degenerated into a shouting match, with commission member U Myint Naing warning journalists against asking questions about advance votes and other controversial topics.

U Myint Naing chastised journalists, saying that they shouldn’t ask questions without firm evidence, to which several replied they had video evidence and would be happy to provide it to the UEC to help with its investigations. However, U Myint Naing declined to take up the offer, saying only that the UEC would investigate any reports of irregularities provided by township- or district-level commissions.


Strongman Shwe Mann knocked out of next Pyithu Hluttaw – Khin Wine Phyu Phyu, Aung Khant Tuesday, November 10

In one of many upheavals sweeping the country in the wake of the polls, Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann appears to have lost his hometown constituency.

The former ruling party chair conceded this morning on his Facebook page, offering his congratulations to his political rival and former classmate U Than Nyunt, the National League for Democracy candidate. The results from Pyu township have not been officially announced yet.


NLD leader congratulates the people as all wait for official results – Myanmar Times reporters
Tuesday, November 10

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has congratulated the people of Myanmar for their “political awakening”, hinting at the victory the National League for Democracy expects as the country awaits official confirmation of the results from yesterday’s parliamentary elections.

In her first speech since the vote, the NLD leader spoke outside party headquarters in Yangon this morning, saying the losers should accept defeat with courage and a smile.


Nay Pyi Taw

Ex-generals seem relaxed even as defeat may be looming – Ei Ei Toe Lwin, Swan Ye Htut Monday, November 9 

Recently retired generals looking to win for the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party in what were considered safe seats in Myanmar’s military-heavy capital radiated a sense of relaxed confidence yesterday, even as a hint of possible defeat beckoned.

As more results came in suggesting an NLD victory, reporters asked Sen Gen Min Aung Hlaing whether he would be accept if the NLD won. He replied that there was “no reason to deny [an NLD victory]. We must accept the people’s choice.”


Kawhmu Township, Yangon

Daw Suu set to cruise to victory – Lun Min Mang Monday, November 9 

The result was never really in doubt, but Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s party is expecting an easy victory in Kawhmu, her constituency at the rural outer fringes of Yangon.

By 9pm last night, the votes were still being re-counted and confirmed at the Kawhmu township election sub-commission office. However, the preliminary numbers showed the NLD with an easy lead on all Kawhmu’s seats.


Nationwide

NLD senses victory following large turnoutMyanmar Times reporters
Monday, November 9 

First and unofficial results reported late last night from some of the 40,000 polling stations across Myanmar led to celebrations in Yangon by supporters of the National League for Democracy, although the scale of the opposition party’s hoped-for victory may remain in doubt for days to come.

“We are here cheering because we are sure the NLD won. For sure it won by 80 percent, a majority. We want democracy – no more dictatorship. Now it’s better, but not enough,” said U Myo Thiha, a 38-year-old businessperson in Yangon.


Washington, D.C.

US welcomes Myanmar vote, but warns 'impediments' remain – AFP Monday, November 9 

The United States welcomed Myanmar's landmark election Sunday, but warned of "important structural and systemic impediments" to full democratization in the Southeast Asian nation after decades of military rule.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the massive turnout, which could see opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party catapulted to power, was a "testament to the courage and sacrifice shown by the people of Burma over many decades."


Yangon

Crowds gather outside NLD Yangon HQ – Nyan Lynn Aung Monday, November 9 

It was the moment many had waited decades for. “NLD must win, NLD must win,” thousands of people stood and shouted at the tops of their voices outside the headquarters of the National League for Democracy, soaked by heavy rain, after polling stations closed yesterday.

It was the moment many had waited decades for. “NLD must win, NLD must win,” thousands of people stood and shouted at the tops of their voices outside the headquarters of the National League for Democracy, soaked by heavy rain, after polling stations closed yesterday.


Kokang, Shan State

USDP tipped to claim Kokang as stations report low turnout – Sandar Lwin, Thu Thu Aung Monday, November 9 

The Union Solidarity and Development Party appeared set to sweep the election in the conflict-hit Kokang region last night, where the election was held in almost all wards and villages despite the presence of ethnic insurgents.

Only the USDP and Shan State Kokang Democratic Party contested seats in Laukkai and Konkyan, the two townships that make up the Kokang Self-Administered Zone. Up for grabs were two Pyithu Hluttaw seats, as well as one for the Amyotha Hluttaw and four for the regional parliament.


Taunggyi, Shan State

Inside the Shan State polling station that liked to say ‘Nee’ – Zayar Linn, Fiona MacGregor
Monday, November 9 

The two ethnic Shan “tiger” parties had jostled for top spot, the military made their presence felt, and voter turnout threatened to overwhelm polling stations, but by 4:30pm most polls were closed, vote counting had begun and The Lady was in the lead.

The scale of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s mounting victory – in this one polling station at least – was being welcomed with a thumbs-up by many observers to the count, both official and those gathered outside staring through the window.


Mandalay

Mandalay runs Red as NLD foresee victory – RJ Vogt
Monday, November 9 

After weeks of concerns over incorrect voter lists, suspect ID cards and a novice electorate, the National League for Democracy’s Mandalay headquarters began to breathe easy last night as the pay off was evidenced in initial results.

The preliminary numbers trickling in on a live LED screen were overwhelmingly in favour of the fighting peacock. Though the final, nationwide election count may not be released for weeks – and the first official results are not expected until 9am this morning – NLD supporters were already tacking it up as a win.


Pwin Oo Lwin township, Mandalay Region

Controversies aplenty mar hotly contested Pyin Oo Lwin – Si Thu Lwin Monday, November 9 

The high-stakes vote in Pyin Oo Lwin threw up a number of controversies yesterday, including disappearing voter ID cards, disenfranchised voters and media lockouts at one major polling station.

The key battle in the township is between Mandalay Region Chief Minister U Ye Myint, a Union Solidarity and Development Party candidate who is competing for a regional parliament seat with U Khin Maung Htay of the National League for Democracy.


Yangon

In Yangon, a day of courage and pride for voters – Wa Lone Monday, November 9 

It was a day of pre-dawn rising, of patient multitudes waiting in sun and rain, of shops shuttered and closed which are usually bustling. It was a day of courage, and it was a day of pride. Election day, Sunday, November 8, was a day for Myanmar people to be watched, by local and international media, by electoral observers, and by party representatives who watched them with mingled fear and hope.


Muse, Shan State

Shan ethnic parties leading the count in MuseMyanmar Times reporters
Monday, November 9 

As votes began filtering in from Shan State last night, the two largest ethnic parties appeared to coming out on top in at least one heated field. The Shan Nationalities Development Party, also known as the White Tiger party, declared confidence in taking Muse, but couldn’t claim outright victory while votes were still being tallied.


Nationwide

Voting burns midnight oil as polls stay open past deadlineMyanmar Times reporters Monday, November 9 

While voting officially concluded at 4pm yesterday, in several polling stations around the country huge queues of voters necessitated continuing the ballot-casting into the night, which also delayed tallying the results.Voters wait in line to cast bsllots in Myawady in Sagaing Region.

Sagaing Region’s Myawady ward boasted a staggering 19,009 voters, all of whom could not snake through the station within the limited official window. Over 4000 were still waiting at 2pm while polling began to wrap around much of the rest of the country.


Pyu, Bago Region

Pyu voters head to polls in closely watched race – Htoo Thant, Khin Wyne Phyu Phyu
Monday, November 9 

Tight-lipped voters were massing around polling stations in Bago Region’s Pyu township from early yesterday, where parliamentary Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann is running in what could be a last-ditch attempt to salvage his political career.

The once-powerful Speaker, who was ousted from the joint chair of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party in a dramatic purge last August, seems to have struggled to convince voters here that he is just a home-town boy made good.


Lashio, Shan State

Sai Mauk Kham ready for possible defeat – Ye Mon
Monday, November 9 

Lashio voters could be handing a defeat to Vice President U Sai Mauk Kham, according to current indications in the ongoing count. The opposition National League for Democracy candidate, U Tun Shwe, appeared to be edging ahead in the race for the constituency’s Pyithu Hluttaw seat when The Myanmar Times went to press.

Neither of the two rival ethnic Shan parties appears to be garnering much of a showing in the Shan State capital, where the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party and the NLD seem to have attracted the most voter interest.


Thandwe, Rakhine State

NLD looking for victory in southern Rakhine – Myat Nyein Aye and Kayleigh Long
Monday, November 9 

In Rakhine State’s southern town of Thandwe, home to the prized resorts of Ngapali beach, early indications were that the visit last month by National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had paid dividends. U Win Naing, candidate for the Thandwe 1 constituency of the state assembly, said he had garnered around 800 votes, with the USDP receiving around 100. It was not clear how many the Arakan National Party had attracted.


Yangon

Yangon election ‘smooth, peaceful, orderly’: observer – Simon Widmer Monday, November 9 

An election observer from the Asian Network for Free Elections says his initial impression of yesterday’s polls was of a peaceful, orderly vote. Damaso Magbual, ANFREL’s head of mission, said last night that voting appeared to be in line with procedures laid out by the Union Election Commission (UEC).

“The elections exceeded my expectations, especially regarding the way problems with the voter lists were resolved,” he said.


Hpa-an, Kayin State

In Kayin State, parties do battle for one of the smallest parliaments – Yola Verbruggen Monday, November 9 

It is 7am. In traditional Kayin dress, Daw Nan Say Awa of the Phlone Sgaw Democratic Party arrived at a polling station in Hpa-an to cast her vote. She is one of the candidates contending one out of only 17 elected seats in the Kayin State parliament, one of the smallest in the country.

Five years ago, the Phlone Sgaw Democratic Party won four seats, while the USDP was the big winner with seven seats.


Mandalay

Crowd cheers vote count in Mandalay after fears of rigging – RJ Vogt, Khin Su Wai Monday, November 9 

To cheers and boos from the watching public, electoral officials in a Mandalay Region township are counting votes one-by-one in public. The unusual counting method was adopted to allay fears that unqualified voters had been trucked in to rig the result.

More than 300 people gathered outside polling station 5 in Maha Aung Myay constituency after between 100 and 180 people arrived in several truckloads, prompting suspicions that the voters were not residents of the town.


Muse, Shan State

Shan ethnic parties leading the count in Muse – Nyein Ei Ei Htwe, Myat Noe Oo Monday, November 9 

As votes began filtering in from Shan State last night, the two largest ethnic parties appeared to coming out on top in at least one heated field. The Shan Nationalities Development Party, also known as the White Tiger party, declared confidence in taking Muse, but couldn’t claim outright victory while votes were still being tallied.

U Sai Aung Myint, the party’s Muse candidate, believed he would get better results than his 2010 bid as his campaign had been more far-reaching this year. His main competitor, U Sai Phoe Myat from the Tiger Heads – the Shan Nationality League for Democracy – was also checking through all polling stations of Muse, hoping his victory might be announced.


Dawei, Tanintharyi State

Gaps in Dawei as thousands of voters stay away – Su Phyo Win, Aye Nyein Win Monday, November 9 

Nearly half of all eligible voters in Longlone township, Dawei district, did not cast their vote yesterday. Of the 11,363 people listed on electoral rolls, close to half did not show up to polling stations. Many have moved to Thailand to work illegally and failed to make the trip back, said villagers.


Myitkina, Kachin State

No complaints as Myitkyina heads to polls – Aye Thidar Kyaw Monday, November 9 

Party representatives determinedly on the prowl to root out cheating were finding pretty slim pickings in Myitkina, Kachin State, yesterday.

In the closest thing to an “Aha!” moment, U Zaw Myo Win, a scrutineer for the National League for Democracy, said he had discovered that about 50 people had been given only three ballot papers instead of the four they were entitled to as ethnic voters.


Myaing and Yesagyo townships, Magwe Region

Ex-generals set for defeat in Myaing and Yesagyo townships – Aung Shin Monday, November 9 

Villagers in Myaing and Yesagyo townships in the northern corner of Magwe Region appeared to have handed the National League for Democracy a landslide victory last night. The opposition party beat out a field of ex-generals and powerful politicians with links to Nay Pyi Taw.

A high proportion of residents across almost 600 villages in both townships turned out at polling stations yesterday, although many were unable to vote because they were not included on the electoral rolls. The two townships have a combined tally of more than 400,000 voters.


Yangon

Carter Center hails vote access as a step forward in country’s road to democracy – Wa Lone and Catherine Trautwein Monday, November 9 

Prominent election observers from the Carter Center visited Thiri Mingalar Mahar Dhammayone monastery this morning, their presence indicative of the changes that have swept the country since the general election five years ago.

“One of the biggest differences between the 2010 elections and this one is the presence of these international observers. The fact that we’re standing here is an important fact that makes this election different than others.”


Natogyi township, Mandalay Region

Civil servants off voting list in minister’s village – Zaw Zaw Htwe Monday, November 9 

Following a complaint from the opposition, electoral officials in Natogyi township, Mandalay Region, have struck the names of seven voters from the electoral roll after finding that they were not residents.

The deletions occurred in Lone Taw village, the home town of Union Minister for Transport U Nyan Tun Aung. The seven voters struck off were found to be employees of the transport ministry.


Nationwide

NLD senses victory after large turnout in peaceful electionMyanmar Times reporters Sunday, November 8 

First and unofficial results reported late last night from some of the 40,000 polling stations across Myanmar led to celebrations in Yangon by supporters of the National League for Democracy, although the scale of the opposition party’s hoped-for victory may remain in doubt for days to come.

Voting went ahead peacefully. Numerous irregularities were reported across the country but first assessments by some of the 10,000 local and international observers monitoring the polls were generally positive.


Maha Aung Myay township, Mandalay Region

Crowd cheers vote count in Mandalay after fears of rigging – RJ Vogt, Khin Su Wai Sunday, November 8 

To cheers and boos from the watching public, electoral officials in a Mandalay Region township are counting votes one by one in public. The unusual counting method was adopted to allay fears that unqualified voters had been trucked in to rig the result.

More than 300 people gathered outside polling station 5 in Maha Aung Myay constituency after between 100 and 180 people arrived in several truckloads, prompting suspicions that the voters were not residents of the town.


Mingalar Taung Nyunt township, Yangon

Voters arrive early in Mingalar Taung Nyunt – Kyaw Zin Hlaing, Aung Kyaw Nyunt Sunday, November 8 

By 9:30AM today, most voters in Yangon Region’s Mingalar Taung Nyunt township had already cast their votes. Most of the rest seemed to be patiently queuing to do so.

In the township’s Yahtar, Tharyargone, Lutlatyay and Taung Nyunt Gyi wards, residents who had already cast their votes mingled with those who were still standing in line, including many older residents.


Laukkai township, Shan State

Commander votes on behalf of election police officer in Kokang – Sandar Lwin and Thu Thu Aung Sunday, November 8 

A member of an election police unit in the Kokang region has told The Myanmar Times that his superior cast an advance vote on their behalf. The officer, who lives on a military base in Laukkai township because his relatives are military personnel, said the commander of the base arranged a vote on his behalf.

“I already voted in advance, but I didn’t vote myself. My commander did it and informed me about it. I don’t know who the candidates are,” said the 26-year-old temporary officer, who is providing security at a station in the town.


Yangon

Q&A: "Asian politicians are sore losers": Damaso G. Magbual, ANFREL Head of Mission – Simon Widmer Sunday, November 8 

The Myanmar Times sat down with Damaso G. Magbual, Head of Mission of ANFREL (Asian Network for Free Elections). Mr Magbual on the government not letting observers on to military bases for the advanced voting:
“If the votes from military stations are concentrated in a constituency, they can alter the result. But if they are spread, they cannot do much harm. We will need to have a close look at the constituencies where military officers are running for office. Not to say they will do something fishy, but it is best to observe that the rules of the game are followed.”


Nay Pyi Taw

Senior general promises to respect result, warns public to do the same – Ei Ei Toe Lwin, Swan Ye Htut Sunday, November 8 

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has promised to respect the outcome of today’s landmark election, and said he wants the party that people can “really depend on” to win.

He also pledged that there would not be a repeat of the 1990 election, when the National League for Democracy won in a landslide, claiming around 80 percent of seats, but the results were never honoured by the military junta.


Aye Mye Thar Zan township, Mandalay

Military voters line up in Mandalay – RJ Vogt Sunday, November 8 

Inside the moat of Mandalay's iconic royal palace, hundreds of mostly military voters are casting their ballots.

Starting as early as 5:30 am, the lines began to snake around polling booths. Each voter takes approximately 4-5 minutes to complete the process, and some people have been waiting outside for hours to cast a vote.


Soldiers step out of uniforms, into polling stations in Shan State – Fiona MacGregor and Zayar Linn Sunday, November 8 

Hundreds of soldiers queued up this morning to cast votes at Eastern command University of Technology and Computer Science compound polling station number 2, in Hopone district, southern Shan state, where 3,500 military voters were registered to cast their ballot.

Not wearing uniform because of the Sunday holiday, a slow start soon saw scores of young men rushing to join the queue some of them running to get there in their excitement.


Migrants miss out on vote in Kokang – Sandar Lwin, Thu Thu Aung Sunday, November 8 

Migrant workers in the conflict-hit Kokang region of northeastern Shan State say they lost their right to vote when the election commission updated voter lists. While the March 2014 census showed a population of more than 154,000 in Kokang district, which comprises Laukkai and Konkyan townships, the electoral roll has just 47,000 voters.

Election commission officials say it is because thousands who fled after fighting broke out between the Tatmadaw and ethnic Kokang rebels in February have still not returned.


Thousands of Myeik fishermen miss out on vote – Su Phyo Win, Aye Nyein Win Sunday, November 8 

An estimated 30,000 fisheries workers at sea off the Tanintharyi Region coast will not get the chance to vote today because they have been unable to get back to port, sources in the area say.

The fishermen work on vessels based out of Myeik that spend months at sea at a time catching squid. Employers are unwilling to let them stop work for the election due to the cost, in both time and money. "The cost to stop fishing even just for a day is very high,” said U Thet Seo, secretary of the Tanintharyi Region Fisheries Federation.


Taunggyi township, Shan State

Military watches over some voters in Taunggyi – Fiona MacGregor and Zay Yar Linn Sunday, November 8 

There is was overt military security as voters - soldiers, military families and local civilians - lined up to vote in at least one polling station on the outskirts of the Shan State capital of Taunggyi.

Despite assurances from the Union Election Commission that polling station staff would not be military, soldiers calling themselves "volunteers" and wearing eastern command jackets were observing voters as they entered polling station number 5, basic education high school number seven, inside the Eastern Command headquarters compound.


NATOGYI TOWNSHIP, MANDALAY REGION

Slander letters against NLD were distributed in Mandalay – Zaw Zaw Htwe Sunday, November 8 

The National League for Democracy claims a smear campaign has been launched against it in Mandalay’s Natogyi township just before voters head to the polls, with unknown persons distributing pamphlets alleging that the party is backed by Muslims.

In the early hours of November 7 – officially designated a campaign-free day, to give voters peace and quiet to weigh up their options – anti-NLD pamphlets were distributed widely in the town, an official from the NLD township office told The Myanmar Times. “‘Time to change’ Yes, it is time to change, but not with the NLD … The current government is not good but it is not as bad as the Kalar,” the pamphlet said, using a perjorative term for Muslim.


Muse residents still confused over voter lists
Saturday, November 7

MUSE, SHAN STATE
As Muse district is on the Chinese border, almost all residents are interested mainly in cross-border trade. Although the election commission announced voters should check the electoral lists, people neglected to do so, said U Sai Tin Soe, the head of the local election commission.

“We help migrants under the law, for example if they wanted to check their names on their villages voting lists, we joined with each respective election committee of the villages. But in these days, they asked to get the chance to vote [without proof of residency] but we can’t allow them,” he said.


All calm in Taunggyi on election eve
Saturday, November 7

TAUNGGYI, SHAN STATE
At the district headquarters of the Union Electoral Commission in the Shan state capital of Taunggyi, chair U Tin Oo is running an operation that appears to be a model of efficiency.


Election to go ahead under martial law, commission vows
Saturday, November 7

LAUKKAI, SHAN STATE
The election will go ahead in nearly all of Kokang region tomorrow, despite concerns about the threat posed by ethnic insurgents, senior officials in the area have told The Myanmar Times. The area has seen heavy fighting since February 9, when the ethnic Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army staged a series of surprise attacks, at one point threatening to capture Laukkai, the main town in the area.


Kachin candidates campaign for peace, federalism
Saturday, November 7

Candidates in Kachin State are campaigning on a similar platform – one seeking peace and federal government, regardless of their political parties. There are 19 parties in Kachin State contesting the election, a four-fold increase since 2010.

They all face similar challenges on the campaign trail, with the difficulty of travelling to remote villages, a lack of security, as well as difficulties with communications, including voters who do not speak their language.


Parliament likely to see more women than ever before
Saturday, November 7

When Myanmar goes to the polls on November 8 for what are being billed as the first democratic elections in decades, voters will have the chance to choose from almost eight times as many female candidates as in the previous national elections of 2010. Of more than 6000 candidates in the forthcoming election, around 790 – or 13 per cent - are female. That compares with 101 female candidates, around 3 per cent out of a total just over 3000, in 2010.

But even the vastly increased figure illustrates how under-represented women are in Myanmar politics and recent studies suggest that female candidates will have to overcome widespread gender prejudice if they are to be successful.


NLD opens door for ‘national reconciliation’ government
Friday, November 6

Victory for the National League for Democracy would mean “a great leap” forward for democracy in Myanmar, opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told a throng of supporters, onlookers and journalists yesterday.

With its leader out of contention, it is not known who the NLD might nominate for president, a post to be filled not by popular election, but by a vote in the new parliament. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would say only that she will remain party leader, and would be “above the president.”


U Shwe Mann struggles to woo the voters of Pyu
Friday, November 6

As his campaign draws to a close, Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann’s bid for Pyu township is trudging toward the finish line with an uncertain outcome on the horizon.

“I’m not that excited to see him. I’ve heard him talk a couple times before,” said one of the attending voters who declined to give her name. She wouldn’t say whether she plans to vote for the Speaker – at least not when his bodyguard was lurking in earshot.


Meiktila Muslims afraid to back NLD
Friday, November 6

Muslims in Meiktila, which was ravaged by communal violence in 2013, say they are afraid to vote for the opposition National League for Democracy in this weekend’s election. They fear that being identified with the NLD could bring further religious violence in the Mandalay Region town.

Dozens of people were killed in March 2013 and thousands displaced after outbreaks of anti-Muslim violence.


UN appeals to government to ensure peaceful elections
Friday, November 6

United Nations officials have called on the Myanmar government to ensure this weekend’s election is held in a “peaceful environment”, citing concerns about the politicisation of ethnicity and religion.

“The promotion of a political agenda that is based primarily on the protection of a particular religion or ethnic group is dangerous, particularly in a country as richly diverse as Myanmar,” said a joint statement by two special advisers to the UN secretary general – Adama Dieng, for the prevention of genocide, and Jennifer Welsh, for responsibility to protect.


Q&A: Win or lose, we will accept the decision’: U Htay Oo
Friday, November 6

Reporter Wa Lone speaks to the USDP acting leader U Htay Oo during the campaign stop in Ywar Tha village, Hinthada township on November 3.

"It’s all about gaining the people’s trust. Voters will support someone they can depend on. Our party has always worked for the benefit of the people."


Powerful independents shun USDP
Friday, November 6

The people of Pakokku, a commercial hub in the north of Magwe Region, may have felt neglected by the lack of election campaigning – that is until yesterday, when the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party powered into town on the west bank of the Ayeyarwady.

The USDP believes it is still in with a shout. “What we can say at the moment in this election campaign is that we have an equal chance to win,” said U Thaw Zine Oo, the party’s incumbent MP.


Voter list controversy in Hpa-an
Friday, November 6

The National League for Democracy claims voter lists in Kayin State’s Hpa-an township are being manipulated, with those of mixed heritage most at risk of losing their vote. According to NLD members in Hpa-an, the removal of names from the list could not be assigned to incapacity but is a deliberate plan to disenfranchise those of mixed ethnic and religious heritage.


Chasing tigers in Shan State
Friday, November 6

Lashio, an ethnically diverse and bustling market town in the hills of northern Shan State, is one of Myanmar’s most hotly contested constituencies. A complex ethnic mix, voter list errors, a powerful government-party candidate and religious interference have set the scene for an even more convoluted election run-up than elsewhere.


Anger as voters remain off the roll in Hlaing Tharyar
Friday, November 6

Tens of thousands of voters in Hlaing Tharyar township have been left off the final electoral list issued by the Union Election Commission on November 2, according to one of the candidates contesting the constituency. According to the 2014 census data, there are 688,000 people in Hlaing Tharyar township, including many migrant workers, of whom at least 10,000 are also not listed and so unable to vote. There are only 451,564 voters listed in the constituency.


Kayan party looks for unity amid election race
Friday, November 6

Blue mountains shimmering under a yellow sun: The imagery in the Kayan National Party flag reflects the situation of the various Kayan tribes, who have been scattered by history among the mountains of eastern Myanmar.

The Kayan National Party is the only Kayan party running in the elections. It will contest 13 seats in eight constituencies spread across three states: Kayah, Shan and Kayin.


Computer error cuts hundreds from Mandalay voter list
Friday, November 6

A software blunder has struck more than 350 voters from the electoral roll in Mandalay Region’s Wundwin township, officials have admitted. U Kyaw Soe Naing, an electoral officer with the Meiktila district commission, said they would take action to ensure no voter was denied the right to cast a ballot.

“It happened because the staff are not familiar with the software. We will make sure people don’t lose their right to vote,” he said.


NLD set to paint Mandalay red with election victory
Friday, November 6

Nearly 160 years since King Mindon founded Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city remains central to culture and politics. On the brink of the country’s first freely contested national election in 25 years, the ruling USDP is waiting to see if its hold over the city will be broken by the opposition NLD.

Local opinion thinks it will.


As election looms, outgoing MPs prepare for one final session
Friday, November 6

As the nation gears up for its most competitive national election in at least 25 years, members of parliamentary committees and commission, as well as government officials, are examining dozens of bills for a Pyidaungsu Hluttaw session scheduled to kick off just eight days after the vote.


Dawei party seeks to strengthen ethnic identity
Friday, November 6

It's time the people of Dawei spoke out, says the leader of one of the smallest ethnic groups in the country. Indeed, the Dawei nationality is so small, and traditionally so unaggressive, that it is barely recognised as an ethnic group at all, even in its Tanintharyi Region home.

That would change if U Aye Min has his way. The 55-year-old former high school teacher and president of the Dawei Nationalities Party hopes to find out soon that he has the support he thinks he has.


Psephologists beware! Dead men voting and a skewed electoral system
Friday, November 6

Election results anywhere are hard to predict, but Myanmar presents particular challenges for psephologists to navigate.

Intimidation, bribery and flawed electoral rolls that still list the dead, a first-past-the-post system that skews translation of votes into seats won, and a complex cocktail of ethnic and religious nationalism: These factors and others, such as the absence of opinion polls, make the outcome of the November 8 parliamentary elections extremely hard to predict.


EU observers denied access to military bases
Friday, November 6

Alexander Graf Lambsdorff is chief observer of the European Union's Election Observation Mission. He spoke to Simon Widmer about advance voting, electoral violence and how his staff will work on November 8.

"The main question is whether the parties accept the outcome of the elections. This is the reason why we do not hold a press conference on election day, but two days after."


Kayin State Day delayed for election
Friday, November 6

The village of Kawt Yin, in Kayin State, gave few outward signs yesterday that it was preparing for a landmark election. No campaign trucks blasted party music; no candidates’ faces looked down from party billboards.

Only in the centre of the village, where people milled about the election commission office, was it clear November 8 was drawing near. With just a few days to go, it was clear a lot of work remained to be done to get ready for the more than 8000 voters eligible to cast ballots at the village tract’s four polling stations.


Third time lucky for a first-time voter in Yangon
Friday, November 6

Excitment is coursing through my veins as I sit, somewhat impatiently, at my township election commission office. I am 32 now but have never voted before: I was too young in 1990, and in 2010 I supported the boycott. Then, in 2012, the constituency where I lived was not included in the by-election run-offs. Now I am ready, and on November 8 I want my vote to count.


Local officials set policies on advance voting
Friday, November 6

The process of advanced voting varies significantly at different polling stations throughout the country. In some constituencies, civilians were allowed to vote in advance over the past few days, which is against the rules communicated by the Union Election Commission.


From wounded student to successful businessman
Friday, November 6

Independent upper house candidate for Rakhine State U Win Maung took a bullet in the leg back in 1967, during what the Rakhine now refer to as the Rice Massacre. The Ne Win regime gunned down hundreds of protesters in the Rakhine capital on August 13. The candidate says some 200 people were killed.

In 2015 he is a successful businessman, with going concerns including a Sittwe water processing and bottling operation as well as a motorcycle repair shop. He met with The Myanmar Times on November 2 at his home office based in Sittwe, where he explained his decision to run as an independent candidate.


Middle-school students on village electoral roll
Friday, November 6

Middle-school students’ names have been included on the voter list in Mandalay Region’s Natogyi township, according to a complaint filed by the National League for Democracy.“We found four or five names of grade 8 students, who are under 18,” U Sein Kyaw Moe told The Myanmar Times yesterday, adding that there could be as many as 11 minors in the list.


Twitter tagging makes hash of Myanmar’s election coverage
Thursday, November 5

For those hoping to follow November 8’s historic election through social media, Twitter’s global reach has made it slightly more challenging. November 8 is also the date for North London’s historic though more regular derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur – and fans have already taken to Twitter with the hashtag #nld.

The Premier League clash won’t fill Myanmar’s tea-shops until 10:30pm MMT, over five hours after the 4pm polls closing time. But even now, the social media site is already cluttered with rival fans taunting and goading each other.


Grade 8 students found on village voter list
Thursday, November 5

Middle-school students’ names have been included on the voter list in Mandalay Region’s Natogyi township, according to a complaint filed by the National League for Democracy. “We found four or five names of grade 8 students, who are under 18,” U Sein Kyaw Moe told The Myanmar Times today, adding that there could be as many as 11 minors in the list.


Ceasefire and elections: Kayin people hope for brighter future
Thursday, November 5

For Kayin ethnic nationalists, events of recent weeks should mark a historic turning point after decades of political and armed struggle. But the future remains anything but certain in Kayin State, and splits within Kayin ranks threaten to further destabilise potential progress.

Despite the landmark signing of the national ceasefire on October 15, a lack of trust in the government remains and divisions within ethnic Kayin ranks threaten to see ethnic representatives lose out to candidates from either the opposition NLD or the ruling USDP.


NLD accuses president of violating constitution
Thursday, November 5

The National League for Democracy has accused President U Thein Sein of violating the constitution by conducting election campaigns for the Union Solidarity and Development Party across the country this week, despite being barred from party activities under the 2008 constitution.


 

IN PICTURES: After attack, opposition candidate heads back into the #MyanmarElection ring. NLD candidate U Naing Ngan was severely injured and hospitalised after men with machetes assaulted him on the campaign trail last week...

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

In Hinthada, a tale of two rallies as USDP and NLD go head-to-head
Thursday, November 5

Back-to-back rallies for the National League for Democracy and the Union Solidarity and Development Party in Hinthada township, Ayeyarwady Region, showed serious support for the opposition party that will threaten the incumbent candidate, despite his being a hometown hero.

USDP acting leader U Htay Oo, a former major general and minister for agriculture, will face off against the NLD’s U Khin Maung Yi for a seat in the Pyithu Hluttaw this weekend.


NLD uses video message to reach Coco Islands voters
Thursday, November 5

Opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday urged Coco Islands voters to show courage by voting for her party. In a message delivered by video, the NLD leader called on them to consider the future of the country. Most residents of the island are civil servants and military officers and their families, whom some NLD members say have been subjected to pressure to support the USDP.


Intrepid candidate bids for Mandalay
Thursday, November 5

U Khin Maung Thein is one the few candidates who openly state that he isn’t afraid of Buddhist nationalist group Ma Ba Tha. It’s quite an assertion for the only Muslim candidate running in Mandalay’s five urban townships, and one of just a handful in the whole race.

A self-identifying Pathi Muslim – a generic word for a Bamar Muslim that is believed to derive from a Persian term – U Khin Maung Thein has been campaigning door-to-door, handing out leaflets to spread his primarily Muslim party’s message – “From Nationalism to Internationalism” – and rouse support across religious boundaries.


Magwe voters fret about unexplained holes in ballots
Thursday, November 5

In one Magwe Region village, ballot papers have developed a strange feature: holes no one can explain: voters in Kan Lae village said the marks appearing in the paper look like insect bites – though they aren’t sure from what kind of insect, and they are afraid the botched papers may be discounted.


Analysis: State hluttaws: new centres of power?
Wednesday, November 4

Blocked budgets, corruption investigations and impeachments: One of the more notable features of Myanmar’s political evolution has been a strong national parliament.

State and region parliaments have lagged far behind, however. Their to act as a check and balance on regional governments has been stifled by a lack of capacity and a constitution that puts power largely in the hands of regional governments appointed directly by the president.


Click here for our final pre-Election Special Supplement


Ten battleground townships to watch
Wednesday, November 4

Some constituencies’ results were predictable even before campaigning began, but with just four days before the vote, others remain too close to call. Fierce competition, a divided populace – some areas will come down to the wire, and if all fall one way, the rest of the country is sure to follow.

We asked chief political reporter Ei Ei Toe Lwin to select 10 bellwethers she’ll be keeping a close eye on as the results roll in.


Q&A: ‘When Kayah is peaceful again, people will return’: U Aung Min
Wednesday, November 4

Shadaw is one of the country’s smallest constituencies, with just over 4000 voters. Yet it is also the setting for a curious battle between the USDP, the NLD and a key ally of President U Thein Sein, U Aung Min, who leads the government’s peace negotiations.

U Aung Min registered as an independent in Shadaw after former USDP leader Thura U Shwe Mann refused to let him stand in the seat. He tells senior reporter Wa Lone about the challenges of canvassing in a township where roads are often impassable, armed ethnic groups remain active and few of the residents understand Myanmar language.


USDP denies rumours of U Shwe Mann dismissal rumours
Wednesday, November 4

The Union Solidarity and Development Party has dismissed as a rumour a report that Thura U Shwe Mann had been fired from the party. But the gossip quickly made the jump to local media, with a report apparently confirming the dismissal posted on the Popular News Facebook page this morning.


Commission falls behind on vote list release
Wednesday, November 4

Claims that staff shortages prevented electoral officials from publishing the exact number of voters in Mandalay Region were met with scepticism yesterday. Though the new, and supposedly final, voter lists were posted in ward or village election commission offices commencing November 2, the exact number of eligible voters in the region could not be released before yesterday, said deputy director of Mandalay Region election commission U Kyaw Kyaw Soe.


Policy debate missing in action during the campaign
Wednesday, November 4

Amid the pop songs, flag-waving and grand promises of change from various political parties, what remains notably absent in the run-up to Myanmar’s elections is a serious debate over critical issues, say analysts and commentators.

“We don’t find any clear and precise policies for the country’s problems from any politicians,” says U Myat Ko, lecturer at the Yangon School of Political Science.


 

IN PICTURES: Union Solidarity and Development Party acting leader U Htay Oo delivers a voter education speech in a monastery in Ywa Tha village in Hinthada township, Ayeyarwady Region, yesterday ... ‪#‎MyanmarElection‬

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Analysis: The battle for Kayah State, an election litmus test
Wednesday, November 4

Two key seats in Kayah State could serve as a bellwether for the freeness and fairness of the election, local observers say. The contests in the country’s smallest state are drawing attention, and not just because they pit opposition NLD candidates against the ruling USDP against a resurgent ethnic sensibility. An added twist is parachuting into the state in the form of two heavyweight independent candidates, cabinet ministers close to President U Thein Sein, who are in effect battling the ruling-party.


Laws remain vague as ministry swears off internet shutdown
Wednesday, November 4

Highly-charged political events around the world sometimes trigger internet restrictions, but a Myanmar official says the administration has no intention to switch off online access. “Media and civil rights groups are concerned about internet shutdowns, but since the reform process started in Myanmar, we have never issued such instructions. The Union government has no intention to shut down the internet,” Posts and Telecommunications Department (PTD) director U Than Htun Aung said.


Opinion: Building trust, assuring electoral integrity
Wednesday, November 4

All eyes are on Myanmar ahead of November 8. But this election is not just about the choices the voters will make – it is a test of the government’s commitment to a “free and transparent” process. At issue is a deep-seated lack of trust in the electoral process, from the body that administers the election, the Union Election Commission, to the powers that be.


Parties rate poorly on human rights commitments: FIDH survey
Wednesday, November 4

The outgoing parliament has had a disappointing human rights record, but the incoming one may not prove much better, according to the results of a new policy survey.

Asked how they would “address discrimination against Muslim Ro-hingya”, 42pc declined to provide an answer, while only 21pc identified discrimination against religious minorities as a top priority for the next government to tackle.


NLD candidate urges calm over attacks
Wednesday, November 4

Avoid violence in responding to attacks and provocations, and rely on the law for protection, National League for Democracy MP U Min Thu advised opposition candidates. U Min Thu, MP for Ottarathiri township, Nay Pyi Taw, who is leading the party’s campaign in the capital, spoke out after a series of violent attacks on NLD candidates.

In Yangon, NLD candidate U Naing Ngan Lin is recovering from an October 29 machete attack, while in Dekkhinathiri township, Nay Pyi Taw, police are investigating complaints that an NLD event was fired upon by a catapult. NLD campaigners have also complained of violence directed against them in Kachin State.


President makes a stop in Rakhine State
Wednesday, November 4

President U Thein Sein yesterday paid a visit to the Rakhine State capital where his Union Solidarity and Development Party is facing a tough challenge from the ethnic opposition the Arakan National Party. The president, who is not a candidate in the November 8 parliamentary elections, is barred from the constitution from taking part in campaign activities but his official state visits up and down the country have clearly been used to drum up support for the ruling party, which he chairs.


 

IN PICTURES: Democratic Party (#Myanmar) campaigns in downtown Yangon. Party chair and former political prisoner U Thu delivered a speech to a small crowd yesterday in front of Mahabandoola Garden Park. #MyanmarElection

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Tuesday, November 3, 2015


President warns of Arab Spring-style violence
Wednesday, November 4

A video posted on the Facebook page of President U Thein Sein raising the spectre of bloodshed and chaos akin to the Arab Spring aftermath if his party loses power on November 8 has drawn an angry response on social media. It ends with the words, “Only when peace prevails will democratisation be implemented.”


Voter list issues continue for at least another day
Tuesday, November 3

Myanmar's first final, nationwide voter list was slated to go on public display yesterday, but after months of outraged political parties and voters calling election officials to task, most will have to wait at least another day to see the final roll.

While the final, corrected renditions were supposed to start rolling out yesterday, Myanmar Times reporters posted around the country found varying degrees to which local offices succeeded in meeting the deadline.


More than 10,000 observers registered to watch election
Tuesday, November 3

The eyes of the world are watching Myanmar’s election – in person. The UEC said in a statement that 1118 international observers and 9406 domestic observers from 13 organisations had registered, along with 291 individuals from 45 foreign media organisations.


Hard yards: Candidates struggle to reach voters in Chin State
Tuesday, November 3

For parties campaigning in the state, the physical, financial and organisational constraints are formidable. But the handful of candidates who took the considerable trouble to trek out this far may find that it will pay off on election day.

Chin people think a visit from an election candidate is a sign of respect – one which they are prepared to repay. Conversely, they don’t think much of candidates who appeal for their votes from the state capital.


Rush begins as Myanmar expats return home to vote
Tuesday, November 3

Thousands of Myanmar citizens working abroad are expected to return home over the next week in an effort to cast votes in the November 8 election, after a chaotic overseas voting process that saw millions miss out.


In Sittwe, an independent candidate in name only tells of a split within his party
Tuesday, November 3

As the election campaign enters its crucial last days in the Rakhine capital of Sittwe, the Arakan National Party looks well placed to claim a significant number of seats in the state assembly, but not without some internal rifts along the way.

In all of Rakhine, there is just one constituency where the ANP is not fielding any candidates: Sittwe 2. Not officially, anyway.


U Tin Oo makes push for votes in Rakhine
Tuesday, November 3

National League for Democracy veteran U Tin Oo made a surprise visit to Sittwe yesterday, leading his party’s first rally in the Rakhine State capital since the election period began. The NLD party patron's sudden appearance in the state capital, announced just a day before his arrival, came on the heels of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s own three-day campaign tour of Rakhine.


Japan provides solar lamps for polling stations
Tuesday, November 3

The Japanese government has provided 51,298 solar lamps – two each for 25,649 polling stations – valued at US$890,000 to facilitate the counting of votes after sundown on election day. The lamps have been donated through the UN Development Programme, Tateshi Higuchi, Japanese ambassador to Myanmar, told reporters last week at the Union Election Committee office in Nay Pyi Taw.


Campaign breaches end up in Mandalay Region courts
Tuesday, November 3

Seven criminal cases relating to alleged breaches of electoral law are to come before the courts in Mandalay Region, election officials announced yesterday. Mandalay Region’s election commission said the complaints concerned the disruption of campaigns, destruction of party advertisements and literature, and physical assaults on party workers.


Ex-mayor takes on his former party
Tuesday, November 3

A former mayor of Mandalay, a former military commander of Mandalay Region and a former finance minister of the Mandalay Region government, U Phone Zaw Han is nevertheless running against the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, whose candidate, U Win Hlaing, is a regional minister.


 

IN PICTURES: NLD leader draws crowds upon return to Yangon. One week before #MyanmarElection day, a rally held by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi drew an estimated 40,000 people, the largest by any party in the campaign so far | http://bit.ly/1kljoFO

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Monday, November 2, 2015


NLD leader challenges president over mantle of change
Monday, November 2

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday held the biggest rally of her two-month election campaign, telling tens of thousands of supporters one week before they vote that the ruling military-backed party had no will to deliver change.

“The country needs change ... However those people who say there is no need to change any more do not want change to happen,” the 70-year-old opposition leader said.


Speaker rejects responsibility for ruling party’s election results
Monday, November 2

Ousted Union Solidarity and Development Party chair Thura U Shwe Mann further evidenced the threat of a ruling party split this weekend as he abdicated responsibility for the party’s election results and acknowledged that his collaboration with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi could have played a part in his dismissal.

Thura U Shwe Mann also took pains to distance himself from the conduct of the ruling party’s electoral campaign, which has been riddled with allegations of vote-buying and intimidation tactics.


Strict rules issued for election day
Monday, November 2

No drinks please, we’re voting. Offering a thirsty voter a glass of water could send you to jail, political party workers were warned yesterday. U Aung Htut, chair of Mandalay Region’s election commission, reminded parties, observers and the media that no campaigning was allowed on election day, November 8, including offering illegal inducements or bribes, or issuing threats to sway voters’ choices.


Voxpop: What will an NLD win mean for business?
Monday, November 2

At a National League for Democracy election rally at Yangon’s Thuwanna Pagoda yesterday, Catherine Trautwein asked supporters whether they thought an NLD win would help economic development.

"If the NLD wins and the government will change, the economic system can also change. For example, some European countries have limited trade with Myanmar – but the NLD can bring about change in every sector."


ANP aims for two-thirds of Rakhine State’s seats
Monday, November 2

As the two major national parties, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party and the opposition National League for Democracy, square off in advance of the November 8 election, attention is also being directed to the prospects of the country’s many ethnic-based parties.

The Arakan National Party, the apparently successful product of a merger between two smaller Rakhine parties, is widely tipped to scoop a number of seats in the state.


Injured NLD candidate intends to rejoin campaign
Monday, November 2

U Naing Ngan Lin, a National League for Democracy candidate who was badly injured in a machete attack in Yangon last week, is due to have another operation today, but his wife says he wants to get back on the campaign trail soon.

Police said initial inquiries suggested that the attack was not targeted at any individual in the NLD entourage. The two-month election campaign across Myanmar has been generally peaceful, with a relatively small number of violent incidents reported ahead of the November 8 vote.


Battle for Seikkyi Kaunaungto: Powerful parties square off in small commuter town
Monday, November 2

Once-sleepy Seikkyi Kan-aungto, 20 minutes from Yangon by motorboat, has been transformed into a noisy, crowded, flag-waving theatre of political conflict since election campaigning broke out last month.

The commuter town’s typically quiet afternoons have become a lively affair, as the riot of party colours is matched by the clash of rival campaign songs.


 

IN PICTURES: Actors Ko Nay Yan, Ko Daung and Ma Wint Yamhone Hlaing were among the well-known singers and film stars travelling with National League for Democracy campaigners in Magwe Region this weekend...

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Monday, November 2, 2015


Unity more important than slogans: USDP candidate
Monday, November 2

Just talking about democracy is not enough, Pyithu Hluttaw candidate U Myint Hlaing off the Union Solidarity and Development Party told a campaign rally yesterday. “If you want the country to develop, you must work hard and must be united,” the minister for agriculture and irrigation urged the crowd of about 1000 people in his Nay Pyi Taw constituency, citing the national slogan of President U Thein Sein, “Moving Forward Together”.


Candidates try to drum up support in gold mines
Monday, November 2

A handful of party stalwarts are braving bad transport, apathy and claustrophobic conditions to mine votes in remote Thabeikkyin township, Pyin Oo Lwin District, Mandalay Region. The campaigners are after the votes of thousands of migrant gold-mine workers. But many voters are unaware of the issues in the election, and said they are apathetic about participating.


USDP candidate picks up NLD slogan
Monday, November 2

It's time for a change, said the candidate. But the former general, who appeared to be repeating the slogan of the opposition National League for Democracy, was the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party standard-bearer. U Hla Htay Win, Pyithu Hluttaw candidate for Zeyathiri constituency, Nay Pyi Taw, and a member of the USDP central executive committee, was addressing supporters on October 31. “The USDP welcomes anyone who wants real change,” he told a crowd of about 20,000 in Tapaung field near Uppatasanti Pagoda.


Q&A: “Some people are surprised our party has survived”: Phyu Phyu Nyunt
Saturday, October 31

Phyu Phyu Nyunt is a Yangon Region parliament candidate for the National Unity Party (NUP) in Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township’s constituency 2. Way back in 1977, the now 61-year-old candidate joined the Burma Socialist Programme Party of former strongman Ne Win. The BSPP was replaced by the NUP ahead of the 1990 elections, in which the NUP suffered a crushing defeat by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.

Phyu Phyu Nyunt spoke with Myanmar Now reporter Ei Cherry Aung about her party’s campaign and the situation in her constituency, as well as her proposal to curb online vice and increase punishments for crime.


Q&A: “Joining a Ma Ba Tha event is a USDP member’s right and choice”: Dr. Toe Toe Aung
Saturday, October 31

Dr. Toe Toe Aung is the Mon State Minister for Civil Development for the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). He is contesting a seat in the state capital Mawlamyine and hopes to secure reelection in the state parliament on Nov. 8.

In an interview with Myanmar Now reporter Phyo Thiha Cho at the party’s regional headquarters in Mawlamyine, the 45-year-old medical doctor discussed his campaign challenges and the links between the nationalist Ma Ba Tha movement and the USDP in Mon State.


Stabbed NLD candidate faces long recovery as party calls for swift investigation
Friday, October 30

A National League for Democracy candidate stabbed at a campaign event in Yangon last night is facing a four-month recovery period during which he will be unable to move his hands, his wife has told The Myanmar Times.

Three men have been arrested over the attack on U Naingan Linn, during which he suffered severe head and hand injuries. The party has called for a “prompt investigation” into the incident in Thaketa township but vowed to continue its campaign activities in the area.


UN rights envoy raises election credibility fears
Friday, October 30

The special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar yesterday told one of the United Nations highest-level bodies that she is not convinced the coming election will be free and fair. Yanghee Lee criticised the candidate scrutiny process and called attention to the hundreds of thousands of people – largely members of a Muslim minority – who have been excluded from voting on November 8.


After 2010 fraud, advance vote concerns remain in Kayah State
Friday, October 30

Several election observer groups and party representatives have expressed concern about the possibility of advance votes being misused on November 8 in Kayah State.

They are also worried about the potential for local officials to influence voting decisions, along with the state’s poor road and communication infrastructure hindering access to polling stations.


Advance polling kicks off – AFP
Friday, October 30

Advance voting got under way yesterday for those unable to cast a ballot in their constituencies on polling day next weekend, many of whom are soldiers and civil servants. But some international election monitors have raised concerns over the transparency of the advance vote, which in the last 2010 general election was marred by allegations of widespread fraud.


NLD tells UEC of fears of violence, vote rigging
Friday, October 30

The National League for Democracy fears election day may not go smoothly, and yesterday raised concerns over vote rigging as well as campaign-related violence in Kachin State. Senior NLD official U Win Htein also said the NLD members have been attacked by a rival political group in Kachin State, and the assaults have taken a toll on the campaigning.


NLD leader denied permit to hold rally next to Shwedagon pagoda
Thursday, October 29

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been denied permission to hold a campaign rally this Sunday at People’s Park next to Yangon’s Shwedagon pagoda, the site of her first mass address in August 1988 when she announced her arrival on the political scene to a crowd of hundreds of thousands.

The refusal means that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will not be able to hold a campaign event in central Yangon. She is running for a parliamentary seat in the rural Yangon Region township of Kawhmu



Tatmadaw, ministries block polling stations in Mandalay
Thursday, October 29

Despite the growth in Mandalay’s population, election officials will set up nearly 700 fewer polling stations than expected – because military commanders and managers of state-owned factories refused to allow them on their premises.


Elections officially begin with early votes
Thursday, October 29

Voting in the November 8 elections formally begins today as advance voters are allowed to start casting their ballots, with officials anxious to play down fears of a repeat of the large-scale fraud that marked the 2010 polls. In 2010 some 2 million people cast advance votes, about 10 percent of the total. The system was widely reported to have been manipulated in favour of the military-backed USDP.


No clean sweep: Ethnic parties expected to deny unanimous opposition victory
Thursday, October 29

Ethnic parties are stepping up the heat in Shan State, where they say their candidacy should not be discounted by the country’s two largest political parties.

Though the NLD is expected to make large gains in the coming polls and the USDP has the benefit of incumbency in many areas, the eight ethnic parties running in Shan State complicate the electoral landscape and may prevent either from claiming victory.


NLD claims voter list massively inflated in key battleground
Thursday, October 29

Nearly half the names on the voters list of a Mandalay city township should not be there, the local National League for Democracy candidate claims. U Zarni Aung, the party’s candidate for regional hluttaw in Maha Aung Myay township, said yesterday that a door-to-door survey of the constituency had found only 8725 voters – 5248 fewer than the 13,973 names on the voters’ list.


Parties accuse Pa-O militia of threats and intimidation
Thursday, October 29

Campaigners in Shan State say they fear it will not be possible to hold free and fair elections there because of collusion between the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party and local armed militia. They accuse the Pa-O National Organization and the closely linked ethnic Pa-O militia of intimidating supporters of other parties. “We have seen armed Pa-O militants following us on motorbikes and watching on street corners. Villagers don’t dare to come to our rallies.”


Pressure builds over advance voting
Thursday, October 29

As advance voting kicks off today – officially at least – the Carter Center has reiterated its recommendation to the Union Election Commission to allow groups to “fully” observe the voting process, the transparency of which remains one of the major points of concern among political parties.
 


SNLD claims commission was misled on security
Thursday, October 29

The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy has hit out at the Union Election Commission’s decision to cancel voting in two townships, accusing it of being misled by a rival party.

The decision to cancel voting was taken after an SNLD rival, the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, reportedly requested the UEC postpone the vote in Kye-thi, Mong Hsu and Tang Yan. Candidates had suggested the vote could be postponed in some areas rather than cancelled.


Analysis: ‘Rotten boroughs’, packed townships leave a confusing electoral landscape
Wednesday, October 28

Blame it on the British colonialists: from “rotten boroughs” with populations of barely 1000 to Yangon’s heaving townships with several hundred thousand, Myanmar’s electoral system results in a highly uneven representation in parliament that makes predictions of the outcome on November 8 far from certain.


Click here to download our 9th Special Election Supplement


Kayah State: Will history repeat on Nov 8?
Wednesday, October 28

In a country of vast voting disparities – where, for example, a lower house seat in Chin State has on average one-third the voters of a seat in Ayeyarwady Region – Kayah State is a class apart.

This year’s voting in Kayah is shaping up much differently than that of 2010.

One major change is the level of competition. Five years ago, only three parties contested seats in Kayah State. This time 11 parties are taking part, including three local parties – the KNP, the Kayah Unity Democracy Party and the All Nationals’ Democracy Party Kayah State – as well as several others. With 225 candidates competing, Kayah State now has more than the national average.


Q&A: ‘We will vote using the Braille system’: Ma Naw Htee Ywar Mue
Wednesday, October 28

Ma Naw Htee Ywar Mue has been with the Khawechan School for the Blind in Mayangone township for 16 years. On the sidelines of the 24th Mayor’s Cup – held on October 15 to mark International White Cane Day, promoting better awareness and support of people with visual impairments – she spoke to Zayar Lin about democracy, disability, and the pros and cons of touching words.


First results posted two days after vote
Wednesday, October 28

The preliminary results of the election will be posted two days after votes are cast on November 8, the Union Election Commission said at a press conference yesterday.

Updated results will be posted on a daily basis from two information centres set up on election day, U Tin Tun, the UEC secretary said. The temporary information points will be based out of the Myanmar Peace Center in Yangon and the UEC headquarters in Nay Pyi Taw.


UEC cancels voting in two more Shan townships
Wednesday, October 28

Voting has been cancelled in two more Shan State townships because of fighting between the Tatmadaw and armed ethnic forces, bringing the total number of townships where no elections will be held on November 8 to seven. Fighting there between government forces and the military wing of the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP) has displaced some 5000 civilians so far. Ethnic armed groups also say the Tatmadaw has deployed artillery and air strikes.


USDP tops poll for election handouts: watchdog
Wednesday, October 28

All parties bribe voters, but the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party bribes the most, according to an election watchdog. A report released yesterday by the People’s Alliance for Credible Elections said the USDP had surpassed its electoral rivals in its distribution of treats such as key chains, foods, drinks, stickers, pins and party flags – and cash.


Nationalist candidates fight for votes without party backing
Tuesday, October 27

Emboldened by the introduction of four “protection of race and religion” bills, a group of hardline Buddhist nationalists are on to their next political gambit: winning seats in the looming polls.

The Myanmar Nationalist Network is fielding three members who are contesting Pyithu Hluttaw seats as independent candidates. The network is closely related to the Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion. Better known as Ma Ba Tha, it was the main advocate for the introduction of the four laws.


Wa election rivalry intensifies
Tuesday, October 27

Inter-ethnic rivalries are dominating the electoral landscape in Shan State – a key battleground on November 8 – with allegations of malpractice flying among even the smaller ethnic groups. U Nyi Pa Louk, chair of the Wa National Unity Party (WNUP), says villagers in the state’s Wa Self-Administered Division have been threatened by village chiefs and told not to vote for the party.


USDP the party of reform, self-sacrifice: Speaker
Tuesday, October 27

Heavyweight candidates from the Union Solidarity and Development Party have in recent days led a series of rallies in Mandalay Region, seeking to convince voters that they represent the party of reform and self-sacrifice.

“The USDP led the drawing of constitution, so it was the USDP that began reforms,” Amyotha Hluttaw Speaker U Khin Aung Myint said at a public rally in Mandalay on October 23.


Police investigate alleged attack on NLD candidates
Tuesday, October 27

According to U Thant Zin Tun, the NLD vehicles were struck by three missiles fired by a catapult, as well as a motorcycle he says was driven by Mg Soe Min Aung and Ma Myint Myint Soe, the son and daughter of a local USDP member, U Nyunt Tin. U Nyunt Tin also barred the NLD candidates from campaigning in the village, he said.


Opinion: Election Forecast: Cloudy with a chance you’ll be arrested
Tuesday, October 27

Myanmar President Thein Sein and his backers would have you believe the upcoming national elections are a gift bestowed upon the country by its former military rulers. The truth is that next month’s polls are the culmination of decades of struggle and sacrifice by activists, students, monks, and journalists, many of whom will have to watch the process unfold from behind bars.


Protest looms over probe into NLD rally in Hkamti
Tuesday, October 27

Local residents have reacted strongly to an apparent attempt to discipline officials who authorised the holding of a campaign rally by opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. They spoke out after it had emerged that officials who permitted the rally had been summoned to appear before a tribunal.


Bike-lovers take to streets for NLD campaign
Tuesday, October 27

National League for Democracy supporters in Mandalay are getting on their bikes. Cyclists’ organisations in the city, which is known to be friendly to two-wheelers, are canvassing voters in favour of the opposition NLD.

“Mandalay is the town of bicycle riders. Everybody here is bike-crazy ... We hope for a change and we believe there will be a change,” said Ko Myo, treasurer of Mandalay Bike Adventures.


Voter list disputes overshadow election in Chin State
Monday, October 26

"Invisible" voters could help sway the election in Chin State for the government, opposition ethnic parties are warning. They say the voter list includes the names of tens of thousands people who are no longer resident in the state.


No second-chance ballots, voters warned
Monday, October 26

Voters are being warned to cast their ballot carefully, as replacement papers for blotched or mismarked ballots will not be available, the election commission said. Voter awareness groups have already indicated the rubber stamping process could be a problem, especially in rural areas where voter education trainings have lead to smeared and blotched sample papers.


NLD leader urges government not to fear election result
Monday, October 26

Both winners and losers will remain part of Myanmar’s political process, the National League for Democracy leader told several thousand people packed into a football field in Ahphyauk village in the delta, where she is running for a seat in parliament on November 8.

“If you understand the system of democracy, you won’t feel so anxious about winning or afraid of losing,” she added.


General Aung San’s hometown has become an election battleground
Monday, October 26

The National League for Democracy has a fight on its hands in Natmauk, the birthplace of General Aung San, the nation’s founder and the father of the party’s chair, according to locals. Despite the widespread popular celebrations of last February’s centenary of General Aung San’s birth, local observers are wary of assuming an NLD victory.

“We see the USDP campaigning in the villages, but not so much the NLD,” U Win Nyunt, of Tet Wun village in the constituency, said. “Villagers vote for people they can rely on – people who come to their village.”


China pledges support for next Myanmar government regardless of winner
Monday, October 26

China will support the new government that emerges from next month’s elections in Myanmar no matter which party wins, senior officials told The Myanmar Times in Beijing.

The once-close relations between Myanmar and its giant neighbour have appeared to cool since the emergence of a new government in Nay Pyi Taw in 2011 and its engagement with the broader international community, especially the United States, Europe and Japan.


Opinion: The USDP faces the people
Monday, October 26

During Myanmar’s dictatorial period, the regime’s civilian mass membership wing, the Union Solidarity and Development Association, had a bad reputation.

During the current campaign season USDP speakers insist that their party is responsible for bringing democracy to the country. They demand voters consider who has helped to make Myanmar richer and prouder. The answer they want to hear is “USDP”.


Two independents offer support for president
Monday, October 26

Two former Nay Pyi Taw Council members running as independent candidates have spared no measure to demonstrate their allegiance to the government of President U Thein Sein. Retired colonel U Myint Aung Than and U Myo Nyunt joined campaign forces yesterday, forming a convoy of 57 vehicles and over 2000 people. Both candidates were previously appointed by the president to serve on the Nay Pyi Taw Council, and have taken to drumming up support for U Thein Sein at rallies.


EXCLUSIVE: Speaker makes political comeback bid
Friday, October 23

Dismissed as chair of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party in August, parliamentary Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann has come out fighting by demonstrating he still has aspirations to become Myanmar’s next president.

A little more than two weeks before the elections, analysts are speculating that the USDP could split in parliament when the process of electing the next president begins next February.


Fighting raises vote doubt in Shan State
Friday, October 23

Election officials in central Shan State have called for the postponement of voting in two townships because of continued fighting between government forces and an ethnic armed group that has displaced at least 3000 civilians. Shan State Army-North forces of the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) say they have been under Tatmadaw attack for about two weeks and see the offensives as reprisals for not joining a nationwide ceasefire agreement.


Ethnic parties take on the giants in Kayah State
Friday, October 23

Ethnic politicians in Kayah State are putting up a tough challenge to the two main national parties. But just as in other ethnic-dominated borderlands of Myanmar, their failure to create an electoral alliance risks splitting the vote in the country’s smallest state.


Youth group pulls election monitoring in some areas
Friday, October 23

Armed conflict and poor transportation in remote parts of the country have forced an electoral observation group to abandon its hope of placing two observers in every township.

Fighting between the Tatmadaw and ethnic armed groups is persisting in parts of Kachin and Shan states. Parts of Rakhine State are experiencing religious tensions, and transportation difficulties rule out a presence in mountainous Layshi and Lahe townships, Sagaing Region, as well as flood-ravaged Tlangtlang and Paletwa in Chin State. Coco Islands, officially part of Yangon Region, also seems to be off limits, says the National Youth Congress.


Ex-general puts USDP win odds at one-in-three
Friday, October 23

Former defence minister U Wai Lwin told voters in his Ayeyarwady Region hometown that his party, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, had a one-in-three chance of winning the highest number of seats in next month’s election.

He said the party had a one-in-three chance of winning. Dismissing the “fantasy” of political change, he said a balance had to be struck between people’s desires and the real situation.


Advanced voting prompts confusion
Thursday, October 22

Election day is November 8 for most of Myanmar’s 32 million eligible voters, but advance voting – an extremely contentious issue in the 2010 polls – has already begun in some parts of the country.

U Aung Mya, chair of Rakhine State’s subcommission, said the ballots have been sent to government officials who will oversee the process for soldiers, students and other eligible advance voters.


Ethnic Kachin parties defend stronghold
Thursday, October 22

The number and dynamism of ethnic parties active in Kachin State are making it harder than usual to establish a clear picture of what will happen there on election day. Additionally, some campaigners fear that the profusion of Kachin parties could split the vote.

“People are confused by so many contesting parties. We don’t want to fight each other. Our goal is to defeat the USDP,” said the KDP’s U Moe Myint Aung.


 

IN PICTURES: Motorcades, trishaws, members of '88 Generation Peace and Open Society and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi impersonators...

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Wednesday, October 21, 2015


NLD instructs Yangon candidates to stop public rallies
Thursday, October 22

The opposition National League for Democracy has ordered its candidates not to hold any more public rallies in Yangon and to focus on door-to-door campaigning.

U Win Myint, a member of the party’s central executive committee who is running for a Pyithu Hluttaw seat in Tarmwe township said the party believed it would get more public support that way while also educating people on how to vote. “It is a way of building relations between the party and public,” he added, noting that it only applied to Yangon and not to other regions or states.


Language barrier hampers election in Chin State
Thursday, October 22

Voters in Chin State fear their ability to cast ballots on election day will be limited by an inability to read and write the Myanmar language.

“I know the NLD logo has a white star and I have to rubber stamp that one,” said Mi Van Lal Hnem, 24, a mother of two from Ta Lang Lo village in Falam. She said she is unable to read Myanmar script and is unsure of many of the elements of the voting process, including how many times one person gets to vote.


Independent warns of wicked political pledges
Thursday, October 22

A retired soldier who hung up his uniform to contest the election as an independent is warning voters to beware the wickedness of politics, along with the false campaign pledges of his partisan rivals. “For political parties, promises roll easily off the tongue,” U Myint Aung Than told voters yesterday in Pyinmana township, where he is contesting a Pyithu Hluttaw seat.


Analysis: On the cusp of history, younger generation faces tough choices | Graphic
Wednesday, October 21

Whether they have reached the voting age of 18 or not, many young people are playing a major role in the run-up to the elections that has the potential to shape the outcome and even the whole process of political change in Myanmar. And that, say opponents of the military-backed government, has the authorities worried.


Click here for our 8th election supplement: 'Youth in Politics'


In Kengtung, youth show little taste for politics – yet
Wednesday, October 21

When political parties in Kengtung, eastern Shan State, are asked what they hope the election will bring, one of their responses is surprising: youth.

They have struggled to attract young people to their ranks, but believe elections that bring more political freedom and less repression in border areas will encourage more to sign up.


Q&A: ‘Youth is one of my strengths’: U Lum Zawang
Wednesday, October 21

At 27, U Lum Zawang is the Kachin Democratic Party’s youngest candidate, vying for the No 2 constituency seat in the Kachin State Hluttaw. He spoke to chief political correspondent Ei Ei Toe Lwin about perceptions of reform inside and outside Kachin, the dangers of campaigning in conflict zones and whether the election could lead to more powers for the currently toothless state and region parliaments.


UEC backs elections in Shan ceasefire regions
Wednesday, October 21

The Union Election Commission has pledged that voting will go ahead next month in areas under the control of a major Shan armed group which was among eight ethnic organisations to sign last week’s ceasefire agreement with the government.

Fighting between government forces and the RCSS flared again last month, prompting the Shan group to warn political parties that campaigning in the 16 townships where it was active would risk the lives of candidates and party members.


Nay Pyi Taw independents back U Thein Sein for re-election
Wednesday, October 21

In the heart of the nation’s capital, the real governing-party candidates are running as independents. U Myint Shwe claimed that he and four other independent candidates were running at the request of President U Thein Sein, and would vote for him if he emerged as a contender for the presidency after the November 8 elections.

"We’re running as independents because the USDP candidates were selected by the former party chair, Thura U Shwe Mann. Since we independent candidates were assigned by U Thein Sein, it’s we who are really representing the USDP,” he said.


Independent election hopeful arrested for protest
Wednesday, October 21

Daw Myat Nu Khaing, an independent candidate contesting Pyu township in Bago Region has been arrested allegedly due to her involvement in a protest that occurred nearly a year ago outside the Chinese embassy. On December 29 last year, nearly 100 people attempted to lay wreathes in front of the Chinese embassy in Dagon township to commemorate an activist who was shot dead during a protest at the Letpadaung copper mine.


Former royal family aide courts voters in eastern Shan State
Wednesday, October 21

In Tong Si village in eastern Shan State the streets were empty. Almost all the residents had gone out to help with the harvest. Working day in, day out to bring in this season’s rice crop, the farmers have not had much time to think about the upcoming elections.

Many are worried that the various Shan parties will split the vote for the Shan people, thereby diminishing their influence should the ruling USDP or the opposition NLD prevail instead.


Overseas votes marred by limited registration, lack of ballot papers
Tuesday, October 20

The election is less than three weeks away, but overseas small numbers of Myanmar workers have already begun casting ballots – and encountering obstacles. Residents abroad say their chance to vote is being hampered by a lack of organisation by embassies and the election commission.

Early voting got under way last week in Singapore, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia, and almost immediately ballot papers became a stumbling block.


Activists warn of confusion over voting
Tuesday, October 20

An electoral observer group operating in Mandalay Region has warned that the unfamiliarity of the country’s huge rural population with the prescribed method of voting could cause confusion on election day, potentially leading to votes being rejected. “Most farmers have never seen rubber stamps except in government offices,” said fellow volunteer U Win Myint Tun.


EU monitoring team promises no interference during polls
Tuesday, October 20

Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, the deputy chair of the European Parliament and head of the election observation team, told reporters yesterday that they had received good cooperation from the Union Election Commission and government ministries. He said long-term observers were already in place and the monitoring team’s activities were on schedule. The monitors will remain in Myanmar until the end of November.


More polling stations for Mandalay as voter list grows
Tuesday, October 20

The Mandalay Region election commission plans to add more polling stations due to about 200,000 people applying to be added to the rolls. The surge in the number of registered voters in the region, from about 4.2 to 4.4 million, comes despite the deletion from the list of unqualified names, including those of deceased persons. The increase means that more polling stations will have to be opened, though some military personnel apparently will not be permitted to vote.


NLD shifts campaign focus to education
Tuesday, October 20

With the election less than three weeks away, leaders of the National League for Democracy campaign in Mandalay say they are more focused on teaching people how to vote than canvassing for votes.

They have expressed concern at the high proportion of people who have no idea how to correctly fill in a ballot. “Some get shaky hands when they are stamping [the paper]. They have to do it three or four times."


Amnesty push promised ahead of vote
Tuesday, October 20

All political prisoners, including students and activists arrested in the Letpadan crackdown, could be released under an amnesty before the November 8 elections, following an agreement reached with ethnic groups that signed last week’s ceasefire agreement. The eight ethnic armed groups that signed the ceasefire released a statement on October 18 calling on the government to free all political prisoners immediately.


Opposition fears social media punishments meted out unfairly
Tuesday, October 20

Yet another social media poster is paying a high price for baiting the Tatmadaw online, while a ruling party candidate who posted doctored explicit pictures of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi remains at large. The two cases are the latest in a spate of online defamation suits prosecuted under the draconian electronic transaction law.

Two opposition National League for Democracy supporters were arrested earlier this month in relation to manipulated photos posted to social media that were deemed inappropriate and to have defamed the Tatmadaw commander.


 

IN PICTURES: Election police prepare for one-month mission. Around 40,000 short-term police recruits, like those...

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Thursday, October 22, 2015


Independent backs the president, confuses voters
Tuesday, October 20

At a public campaign rally yesterday that was self-described by the candidate as a corroboration of the president’s politics, former Nay Pyi Taw Council member U Myo Nyunt dished out a load of contradictions. The independent candidate, who is contesting an Amyotha Hluttaw seat for Nay Pyi Taw’s Constituency 10, asked attendees rhetorical questions, compared the elections to a raging fire, and managed to both insult and praise the party that had appointed him to his former council seat.


NLD leader dispels doubts over popularity in southern Rakhine
Monday, October 17

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday wrapped up her three-day campaign tour of southern Rakhine State, peacefully and – as one of her rivals admitted – successfully. Her first trip to the conflict-torn state since 2002 drew large crowds, demonstrating she still commands considerable popularity in spite of recent criticisms.

See more from the NLD leader's Rakhine trip In Pictures!


Media report notes lack of balance in election coverage
Monday, October 17

The report, issued on October 16 by the Myanmar Institute for Democracy, presents an analysis of print, online, radio and television coverage of the electoral campaign and the wider political climate, including the activities of the government, the president and the Tatmadaw.

State-owned TV coverage was sternly criticised, while privately owned DVB got better marks for offering “a balanced coverage”. Debates staged by DVB have “enabled candidates to convey their messages to the electorate and allowed voters to form opinions of the candidates”, added the report.


UEC makes eleventh-hour partial switch to Excel for voter lists
Monday, October 17

With election day three weeks away, the contentious voter list is being significantly altered in Ayeyarwady Region – a central battleground between the ruling party and the National League for Democracy. The eleventh-hour restructure to the database storing voters’ names appears to be an attempt to appease an electorate furious over the errors, omissions and other mistakes riddling the lists.

The changeover comes on the back of strong criticism of the voter list, including concerns over its accuracy and inclusivity.


Reconstruction promises exchanged for votes in Chin State
Monday, October 17

In landslide-ravaged Chin State, displaced residents say the election has fallen to the bottom of their priority list, causing some parties to fear opportunist electioneering may be in the works. Local ethnic parties claimed that government officials from the USDP are already bartering reconstruction plans for votes.


Civil servant quarters out of bounds for door-to-door campaigns
Monday, October 17

Parties are being warned off door-to-door campaigning in civil servant houses in Nay Pyi Taw. In a directive sent to all political parties on October 15, the Union Election Commission said such canvassing could lead to disunity among the officials.

The instructions have already irked several election hopefuls, who claim the instructions infringe on their canvassing.


Supporters cheer NLD leader in Rakhine as protest rumours swirl
Friday, October 16

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been greeted on her arrival in Rakhine State by hundreds of supporters, as she makes her first visit to the conflict-hit region in more than a decade.

But her visit promises to be tense – some political analysts have described it as “risky” – with rumours continuing to swirl that she will face protests from ethnic Rakhine nationalists, who perceive her to be too sympathetic to the state’s Muslim community.


In Kachin, candidates grapple with unstable electoral landscape
Friday, October 16

Campaigning is gathering pace across Myanmar, but candidates in Kachin State are facing a particularly challenging electoral landscape dominated by war, inter-ethnic tensions and the involvement of militia groups.

With less than four weeks to go before the election scheduled for November 8, some candidates in Kachin have not even started campaigning. This is particularly the case in some areas where clashes between the Tatmadaw and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) are ongoing.


Myanmar living in Singapore line up to cast advance votes
Friday, October 16

Hundreds of Myanmar nationals queued to cast their ballots in Singapore yesterday in advance voting for the November 8 election, but only a fraction of the millions-strong diaspora has registered to vote.

Only around 30,000 overseas workers in 37 nations have registered for advance voting in the November 8 poll, according to U Thein Oo, director of the Union Election Commission (UEC).


Lacking support, MP gives up on rallies
Friday, October 16

The campaign plans of a sitting MP from Yangon who decided to run as a candidate in Nay Pyi Taw appear to have come unstuck. U Aung Zin, the National Democratic Force representative for Pazundaung, said he has given up on holding any rallies in Ottarathiri because he hasn’t been able to build a campaign team.

“This township is new for me. I am not familiar with the area and I couldn’t form an election campaign team here. Because of that, I won’t do any public talks,” he said.


Major parties bring fun to Nay Pyi Taw campaigns
Friday, October 16

As if to counterpoint its usual grey officialdom, both main parties campaigning in Nay Pyi Taw are seriously stressing fun. Both have engaged artists to accompany what they call “entertainment vehicles” that are visiting every one of the eight townships in the capital region.

“The artists are helping, as well as local entertainment groups formed by young people. This is the way they campaign abroad, with an entertainment car. It’s more effective than the normal methods,” said U Min Thu.


Behind the battle to get votes in Pyin Oo Lwin
Thursday, October 15

The Mandalay Region township can fairly be described as a stronghold of the military, with about 20,000 of its voters being members of the Tatmadaw or the police.

In 2010, U Ye Myint, a candidate for the Union Solidarity and Development Party, easily defeated U Myint Maung of the National Unity Party. He was later appointed chief minister by President U Thein Sein.


Divisions as Ma Ba Tha begins election ‘campaigning’
Thursday, October 15

Hardline nationalist group Ma Ba Tha’s latest dip into politics – allegedly campaigning for the Union Solidarity and Development Party – appears to signal a divisive split within the lobby organisation.

Fresh off a nationwide victory lap for the four newly enacted “race and religion” laws, the group is planning to mobilise further discussions about its controversial legislation, according to a directive from Ma Ba Tha’s central committee sent to local branches. But members say the public talks are a veiled way to whip votes for the ruling USDP.


Excitement and nerves ahead of NLD leader’s Rakhine trip
Thursday, October 15

Hardline Buddhist nationalist monks and local leaders of the powerful Arakan National Party may not like it, but Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her religious and ethnically mixed NLD supporters with their “Time For Change” song have been whipping up a storm of enthusiasm even before she arrives in the trouble-hit state tomorrow.

IN PICTURES: Southern Rakhine gears up for NLD leader


DPNS focuses on winning support of farmers
Thursday, October 15

A revived political party is aiming for the farmers’ vote. Canvassers for the Democratic Party for a New Society (DPNS) are concentrating on agricultural concerns in Tada-Oo township, Mandalay Region, local secretary U Thant Zin said.

“Farmers who don’t understand the laws governing agricultural lands don’t know how to deal with the Land Records Department. It is difficult for them to get form 7. This is an important issue for farmers,” said U Kyaw San Khine.


Election observers: the eyes of the world
Wednesday, October 14

With 25 days until the November 8 election, political parties and candidates aren’t the only ones working around the clock. There’s also a small army of election observers following their every move.

Why is this system important? Monitors say the process offers citizens and the international community an insight into the credibility and fairness of the contest. It is also believed that the presence of observers can help support the further strengthening of democratic practice in a country adjusting to a new way of life.


Click here for our 7th election supplement: 'Election Monitors: Eyes on the Polls'


Q&A: ‘Voters will decide based on personality’: U Tun Zaw
Wednesday, October 14

Union Solidarity and Development Party Amyotha Hluttaw representative U Tun Zaw – better known as Ko Pauk – tells Htoo Thant that his standing as a businessperson and philanthropist in rural Bago Region will be enough to see him hold his seat

"My name is well known across the region, because I have my own businesses – a mill, a commodity wholesale centre, car trading, and gold selling and buying."
 


Mandalay observers ‘go their own way’
Wednesday, October 14

U Nyi Nyi Kyaw smokes a cigarette on the second floor of his house-cum-teashop in Mandalay.

A former student activist and now director of a regional election observation group, he continues to defy the authorities – in this case, the Union Election Commission, by refusing to register to monitor the November 8 election.


Vote to go ahead after day of confusion
Wednesday, October 14

Just hours after casting doubt over the date of the election, the Union Election Commission announced it will not be postponing the looming polls. But the sudden proposal - less than a month before the slated election day - sparked a backlash on social media and many commentators feared the worst, speculating a full blown cancellation of the polls could be in store.


Vote cancellations in conflict areas higher than in 2010 | Graphic
Wednesday, October 14

Voting has been cancelled in nearly 600 village tracts nationwide, mostly in Kachin and Shan states, the Union Election Commission ruled yesterday, declaring that the lack of security would not allow for free and fair elections.

The number of areas deemed unfit for elections represents a sizeable increase over the 478 village tracts where voting was cancelled in the 2010 elections, despite the priority on promoting peace set by President U Thein Sein’s government since taking office in 2011.

“Most of the areas [cancelled] are under KIA control. Depending on the stability of constituencies, the number of polling booths can change. But I think it is not likely to change,” said U Kyaw Moe of the state election sub-commission.


Nationalist monk tells NLD leader to avoid Rakhine
Wednesday, October 14

An influential nationalist monk who is openly backing the Arakan National Party (ANP) in Rakhine has called on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to cancel her visit to the state this weekend, saying it was likely to provoke protests and incite religious tensions.

Speaking to The Myanmar Times yesterday at his Pale Yadana monastery near Ngapali beach, U Eaindra Sar Ya, a member of the radical monk movement known as Ma Ba Tha, said the National League for Democracy leader “should not visit, because it will cause trouble”.


YCDC backs down on candidate speech ban
Wednesday, October 14

Election candidates in Yangon’s Kyauktada have finally got approval to use a public space for campaign speeches after being banned from a popular park.

With the scheduled election date approaching, the stand-off had prompted concerns that candidates would have no area to make public speeches in the congested township.


Election date in doubt as UEC proposes postponement
Tuesdsay, October 13

The Union Election Commission has proposed a nationwide postponement on the election just 26 days before the planned date November 8, citing concerns that flooding could stop some people from voting. The National League for Democracy has opposed any delay, while the Union Solidarity and Development Party, the Myanmar Farmers Development Party and the National Development Party all backed the proposal.


Shan party members killed in Kachin State
Tuesday, October 13

Two members of the Tai-Leng Nationalities Development Party have been shot dead in separate incidents in Kachin State’s lucrative jade mining town Hpakant. The party chair believes the murders were politically motivated, and accused the Kachin Independence Army of orchestrating the attacks.


Little hope for change as IDPs mull elections
Tuesday, October 13

International commentators are fond of saying that Myanmar’s November 8 election could bring sweeping changes to the country. But many of the displaced people living in camps in Kachin State do not see it that way.

Any hope that an end of conflict might improve matters was dashed when the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) announced its refusal to join the nationwide ceasefire accord to be signed in Nay Pyi Taw on October 15. Only eight ethnic armed groups will be signing the accord, leaving about a dozen that refuse to do so or have been shut out by the government.


Commission could probe Coco Islands block on NLD
Tuesday, October 13

The Yangon election commission said it is looking in to allegations that free and fair elections have been obstructed in the remote Coco Islands. The National League for Democracy alleges it is still being blocked from travelling to the 10-by-2-kilometre constituency and had to cancel its latest intended campaign there this week.


Red Shan party eyes minister seat
Tuesday, October 13

U Sai Win Phay is set on being the next minister for Shan ethnic affairs in Mandalay Region so he can better lobby for his small ethnic minority group, the “Red Shan.” But it’s a hotly contested seat, with heavy hitters from the two largest parties, and bigger ethnic parties, also jostling for the position.

U Sai Win Phay is running with the Tai-Leng National Development Party, a new party with a low profile.


YCDC earns K30m from election billboards
Tuesday, October 13

Yangon City Development Committee has made almost K30 million in revenues from campaign billboards.

Political parties looking to advertise on YCDC-owned land must first have a sample approved by the local authority, which is also responsible for choosing the location of the advertisements. Once the project has been approved, parties must pay rent to YCDC, and can then employ a private company to produce the posters.


Street to street, door to door: how the parties match up
Monday, October 12

Candidates and volunteers for the two big parties are clocking up the miles as they criss-cross the densely populated streets of Yangon canvassing voters. The tactics are much the same, but one party seems to be going that extra yard to win hearts and minds.

On the surface, the approach of the USDP seems much the same – but not on closer inspection. They have twice as many “volunteers” than the NLD, although some say they are there for the free meal afterward, and others are hoping to get paid.


NDF candidate complains of unfair campaign finance
Monday, October 12

“The USDP spent a lot of money for their campaign,” U Kyaw Aun told The Myanmar Times. “They have twisted the law and used more money than allowed. We found they used government funding.”

His grievances against the two sole national parties reflect what commentators say is a neglected side of the general debate over whether Myanmar’s elections will be deemed free and fair – namely, the issue of campaign financing.


Your vote is welcome! Chinese in Shan suddenly popular
Monday, October 12

In ethnically diverse Lashio, the parties’ attempts to attract Chinese-speaking voters are having mixed success. Many people in northern Shan State with Chinese heritage are born and raised in Myanmar. They speak and read Myanmar language yet may be ineligible to vote because of strict rules governing ethnicity, citizenship and voting rights.

But it is not clear how many Chinese, possibly a few hundred thousand, were disenfranchised across the country last February as holders of temporary IDs, known as white cards, following a move by the government largely aimed at removing the vote for the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine State.


USDP candidate in NPT accused of electoral violation
Monday, October 12

Police in Nay Pyi Taw are investigating an allegation that a local candidate for the Union Solidarity and Development Party has been calling on supporters not to vote for the National League for Democracy on religious grounds, a violation of electoral law. The allegation was made by the NLD candidate for Nay Pyi Taw’s Dekkhinathiri township, Daw Than Than Soe, against U Zaw Weik, the associate secretary of the USDP in the township.


Opinion: To the election and beyond
Friday, October 9

Hopes are still high that the November 8 election will bring historic change.

Yet even if the votes flow to the NLD, there needs to be a reality check: The coming years will not be easy. The idea of a fairytale transformation will be tested, first-and-foremost, by the vagaries of politics in a fragile system where so many of the big questions are still unanswered.


Daw Suu Kyi's leadership ambitions trigger debate
Friday, October 9

“Why not? Should you have to be president to lead a country?”

A declaration by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi that she intends to lead the next government if she wins at the polls next month – despite being barred from the presidency – has triggered fierce debate over the implications of her intentions, which were also seen as throwing down a gauntlet to the military.


Feature: Animosity sizzles over election allegiance in Myaungmya
Friday, October 9

Here in the Ayeyarwady heartland, the contentious campaign period has trumped even blood ties. A vitriolic rift is splicing neighbours, relatives and friends, with party flags, pamphlets and stickers marking the community’s divides. The contention has become so severe that brawls have erupted, sending party supporters to hospital.


Opinion: The election must not be a choice between democracy or religion
Friday, October 9

Ma Ba Tha leaders this week defended their right to be involved with politics. In a country where democracy champions recall the bravery and sacrifice of monks during the Saffron Revolution, that can hardly be a cause of too much contention.

There’s no doubt the monk lobby holds powerful sway among many voters. But any party they back might yet find it a mixed blessing.
 


NDF candidates cruise around Nay Pyi Taw in floats
Friday, October 9

Taking a page from the strategic playbook of the major political parties, five candidates from the National Democratic Force yesterday began using decorated vehicles to campaign in the Nay Pyi Taw Council area.

The candidates have already been campaigning door-to-door, but they were late starters compared with other parties. “We started late because of financial difficulties in making election posters and pamphlets, and hiring vehicles for campaigning,” U Aung Zin said.


‘It’s very hard to change old habits’: NLD candidate and businesswoman Daw Thet Thet Khine
Friday, October 9

Daw Thet Thet Khine is joint secretary general of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) and vice president of Myanmar Women Entrepreneurs’ Association.

“I want to get involved in politics,” she told The Myanmar Times. “Like business people, politicians thrive on competition, and that kind of competition is good for the country.”


State sangha silent on political monks
Friday, October 9

As controversy swirls around the increasing assertiveness of some Buddhist clergy on political questions in advance of the November 8 election, a call by a senior cleric for monks to vote has dragged the issue back into the spotlight.

The issue could become acute in view of the recent triumphal progress around the country of the hard-line Buddhist nationalist organisation Ma Ba Tha, which has been celebrating the adoption of strict laws they say are designed to “protect” Buddhism and traditional family life.


US citizens warned to ‘exercise caution’
Friday, October 9

The United States has warned its citizens travelling to Myanmar of potential security problems during the landmark November elections pitting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition against the country’s military elites. The US State Department issued a statement on October 7 urging citizens to “exercise caution” during the election period and to avoid polling stations, political rallies and demonstrations.


Weekend: Is the election result written in the stars?
Friday, October 9

They say that if you bring together two economists, you get three different opinions. Sadly, the same seems to be true of those far more reliable predictors of events, astrologers.

San Zar Ni Bo insists that, despite all the odds, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will become president next year. Aung Myin Kyaw sees the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) winning the election though, in his case, he admits his prediction rests as much on his political insight as his communion with the stars. Meanwhile, mind reader U Oung Si Heinn casts his lot somewhere between the two, divining that the next president will be a man, but one who will pave the way for a future presidency by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.


Tourism industry eyeing election
Friday, October 9

Hoteliers and tour agents are counting on the coming elections to bring not only a further step in the country’s democratic transition, but also a high tide of tourism. Success in both could burnish the country’s image. “People all over the world are interested in how our election will go,” said U Htay Aung, minister for hotels and tourism.


Voters asked to put blind faith in NLD
Thursday, October 8

“Don't look at the candidates’ names. Just find the National League for Democracy logo and cast your ballots.” This is the core of the message that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi delivers in her public rallies. The statement has earned a lot of attention, as well as criticism, throughout the NLD’s election campaign.

Accepting her campaign message, analysts say, reflects a kind of “blind faith” among NLD supporters in the party leader, who they believe will lead them to a more democratic state and the possibility of better lives.


Q&A: ‘Politicians should design a clear roadmap for change and restore public trust’: Khin Ma Ma Myo Latt
Thursday, October 8

Khin Ma Ma Myo is the founder and executive director of the Yangon-based Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security Studies (MIPSS), which was set up this year.

Myanmar Now reporter Phyo Thiha Cho spoke with Khin Ma Ma Myo about Myanmar’s political situation ahead of the election, the prospects of reforms to the 2008 constitution, and the military’s continued control over the ministries of defence, home affairs and border security.


The election’s digital challenge
Wednesday, October 7

For the first time in Myanmar’s history, election information on candidates and voters has been moved into digital databases, but the modernisation push has also brought up numerous capacity challenges, with errors persisting in paper and mistakes difficult to avoid.


Click here for our Technology Election Supplement: 'Election: Myanmar 2.0'


Q&A: '2015 is like the pre-exams … in 2020 it will be very different’: Ko Nay Phone Latt
Wednesday, October 7

Ko Nay Phone Latt knows quite a bit about what happens when politics and technology collide. He’s a third-generation National League for Democracy member – now running on the party’s ticket to take a seat in the Yangon Region Hluttaw – whose early brushes with activism include joining the 1988 uprising as an eight-year-old.

Here, he speaks to Catherine Trautwein about Myanmar’s changes and how social media will impact the November 8 election.


The Facebook election? Not quite yet
Wednesday, October 7

Urban candidates are best-placed to make use of social media, but many are wary of how online campaigns will be received

New tech is transforming Myanmar – but can it also impact on the November 8 election? While some of the country’s election candidates have made Facebook their podium, the still-low number of Myanmar people on the social media platform – estimated at barely 10 percent of the population – means politicians can only make so many “friends”.


88 Gen and NLD join forces for rally
Wednesday, October 7

Despite having their election candidacy shunted by the National League for Democracy, members of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society have not quit campaigning for the largest opposition party. Veteran members of 88 Generation joined NLD patron U Tin Oo yesterday to rally mainly Muslim voters in Pabedan township in downtown Yangon.

“Democracy for me is people with religious, ethnic and other differences living together peacefully. I want to live in a safe environment and find life worthwhile,” Ko Mya Aye, a Muslim member of 88 Generation, told the gathered crowd.


MIDO to launch election monitoring app and website
Wednesday, October 7

Many eyes will be trained on Myanmar when the country goes to the polls in November for a historic vote.

In the run-up to the election, local civil society organisation Myanmar ICT for Development Organisation, or MIDO, will lend its own watchful eye through tools it has developed with the Centre for Civic Technology (CCT).


Facebook Q&A: Ko Thu Ryain Shwe, National Unity Party
Wednesday, October 7

National Unity Party candidate Ko Thu Ryain Shwe talks to The Myanmar Times about the changing tech landscape, the benefits (and challenges) of using social media to campaign and communicate – on Facebook.

"For me, many people [online] know my ideas and that I am going to run via social media and online media. But only a few people from my constituency know that. If a candidate wants to launch a social media campaign targeting his or her own voters it is not the best way to campaign."


KIO: ‘We can’t sign if the govt does not accept all groups’
Wednesday, October 7

The Kachin Independence Organisation is one of the largest groups refusing to join a nationwide ceasefire agreement which the government intends to sign with a minority of armed ethnic factions on October 15.

KIO deputy chief of staff Major General Gun Maw spoke to The Myanmar Times senior reporter Ye Mon at a summit of armed ethnic groups in Chiang Mai, when divisions among them dealt a blow to hopes that a genuine "nationwide" ceasefire would be reached.


Up to 1 million still missing from Yangon voter list
Wednesday, October 7

Yangon's electoral rolls are still short 1 million domestic migrants, according to the regional election commission’s count. Those hoping to jump on the election bandwagon are only being given a very narrow window to amend their absence on the list, however, with officials advising applications to correct the errors be sent in by October 10.


Opinion: Time to reform campaign financing
Wednesday, October 7

The issue of political finance – both party finance and campaign finance – could create questions over the fairness of the November election for several reasons. This is not necessarily because candidates or parties are breaking the election laws but because the laws themselves do not adequately cover the issue. There are a considerable number of loopholes for parties and candidates to exploit.


Refugees watch election with interest, trepidation
Wednesday, October 7

Outside of Nai Soi village in northern Thailand, more than 14,000 refugees from Kayah State debate elections going on just across the border. While there will be no voting for those in Thailand’s largest refugee camp – most lack ID cards – that doesn’t mean they don’t have opinions about the coming polls.

Trusting the Myanmar government doesn’t come naturally here. The refugees expect and hope that the ruling party will be defeated in the polls by the National League for Democracy, but they don’t anticipate their troubles will be over after an opposition victory.


Peace focus as NLD Kachin tour ends
Wednesday, October 7

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi concluded her campaign tour of conflict-ridden Kachin State yesterday in the middle of what she called a “different than expected” ceasefire agreement.

The National League for Democracy leader’s five-day trip through the state coincided with the Kachin Independence Organisation refusing to sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement, along with at least nine other groups.


NLD leader talks peace as war continues in Kachin State
Tuesday, October 6

Long -running civil war, the exploitation of natural resources and the looming shadow of China were among many tough issues Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had to tackle in a campaign rally in Kachin State’s trading centre of Bhamo yesterday.

The town, lying on the banks of the Ayeyarwady and on a historic caravan route between India and China, is also not far from continued fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and the Tatmadaw.


 

IN PICTURES: In the midst of his campaign events yesterday, parliamentary speaker and ousted chair of the ruling Union...

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Monday, October 5, 2015


Local candidates call on voters to choose people over parties
Tuesday, October 6

Smaller opposition parties without the fame and celebrity status of the National League for Democracy have reversed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s campaign slogan: Vote for the candidates, not the party, they say. “I am a local of Pyin Oo Lwin, so I am best able to represent this constituency and fulfill the needs of my hometown,” U Aung Myint said.


Political parties struggle for Inle Lake
Tuesday, October 6

A heady mix of ethnic politics, environmental concerns and thirst for rural development is driving the election campaign around Inle Lake.

Many residents complain that the Shan State government has done too little to bring development to the region or to protect the lake – a major tourist attraction – from degradation that has seen water levels dropping catastrophically in recent years. “The water level is sinking day by day,” said U Soe Myint Oo, 48, a resident of nearby Hir Ywama village.


Election police training to begin
Tuesday, October 6

Training is about to begin for more than 40,000 special police officers drafted nationwide to supplement the regular force during elections, while there is also a provision for calling the military to be prepared if need be.


Armed rebel troops attend SNLD campaign event
Tuesday, October 6

Armed troops from the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) were captured in photos taken at a Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, also known as the White Tigers, rally on October 4. Despite lacking an invitation, the soldiers lurked at the back of the SNLD's election kick-off rally this weekend, leaving voters with an eerie reminder of the security forces in past elections.


NLD leader faces headwinds in Kachin
Monday, October 5

Opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has taken her campaign to Kachin State, offering familiar pledges to fight corruption and bring development, pitching for the support of residents apprehensive about the possible return of the Myitsone Dam project. But she is battling what appears to be flagging support in an electoral battleground that has shifted considerably since her party’s by-election triumph three years ago.


Ma Ba Tha justifies religion in politics
Monday, October 5

The self-appointed guardians of “race and religion” yesterday justified their religiously infused politics as necessary under the circumstances. Speaking in Yangon at the finale event after a month-long victory lap for their four newly enacted and controversial laws, members of Ma Ba Tha said their political work is necessary to protect Buddhist people during a period of transition.


Ethnic armed groups take no responsibility for election security
Monday, October 5

Leaders of several armed ethnic groups say they will not take responsibility for security for next month’s elections in territory they control, stressing that the peace process – not voting – is their priority.

“We have no plan to take responsibilities for the election. I think that the peace process is more important than the election because the peace process can get benefits for the future of country,” Naw Zipporah Sein, vice chair of the Karen National Union, told The Myanmar Times.


Ethnic Chinese hope for an NLD victory
Monday, October 5

For many elderly ethnic Chinese residents of Yangon, the anti-Chinese riots of 1967 are still a fresh wound. The anti-Chinese sentiment fomented by the regime continues to reverberate, and many of the ethnic Chinese in Yangon consider a vote for the ruling party, the brainchild of then-Senior General Than Shwe, unthinkable.

“The NLD is our only hope for change. The old government did not care, not only about Burmese-Chinese, but about anyone,” said U Htoo Htoo, who is ethnically Chinese and witnessed the riots as a young boy.


Mandalay election officials snowed in with voter list corrections
Monday, October 5

Electoral officials in Mandalay Region are struggling to process requests for voters list additions from more than 70,000 people who have complained that their names have been omitted. The UEC is expected to issue the final, un-amendable voter rolls shortly before the November 8 election.


 

IN PICTURES: Enthusiastic crowds greet NLD leader in Myitkyina But Daw Aung San Suu Kyi finds Kachin State heavy going,...

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Monday, October 5, 2015


Disability organisations reject separate voting
Monday, October 5

Organisations representing blind and disabled persons are insisting on equal voting rights, with those who have visual or hearing impairments able to cast a ballot in the November 8 poll the same way anyone else would. “If we have to vote separately, we would have no privacy and our vote would not be secret. We want to vote the same way as everybody else, with the help of a companion,” said U Thein Lwin, general secretary of the Christian Fellowship for the Blind.


Guardians of ‘race and religion’ target NLD
Friday, October 2

Nationalist monks are stepping up political activities as Myanmar’s election approaches, with the opposition National League for Democracy feeling the heat as the main target of Ma Ba Tha’s growing reach. The constitution bars monks from voting or forming political parties, but Ma Ba Tha is engaged in what it calls a “voter education” program of sometimes thinly guised attacks against the NLD and its leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.


Commission blamed for migrants missing vote
Friday, October 2

Migrant rights activists are blaming the election commission for not doing enough to ensure that Myanmar citizens living and working abroad were able to vote. An estimated 5 million Myanmar workers in Thailand and Malaysia will likely miss out on the election due to unrealistic requirements such as official document restrictions and necessary travel, the activists said.


 

IN PICTURES: The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party campaigns with a float bearing a poster of President U...

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Friday, October 2, 2015


‘After the 2010 elections, I don’t blame people for being apathetic’: Q&A: Trevor Wilson, Former Australian Ambassador

Trevor Wilson was Australia’s ambassador to Myanmar from 2000 to 2003, a period in which the military junta’s grip of power seemed absolute.

Myanmar Now chief correspondent Thin Lei Win spoke to Wilson on the sidelines of a conference on “Elections and Ethics,” organised by the Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung in Naypyitaw on Sept 25-26, and asked him how Myanmar has changed since the end of military rule and what further changes the elections could bring.


Dictatorship will die if NLD wins election: patron
Friday, October 2

U Tin Oo, who also leads the party’s central campaign committee, also promised that an NLD government would relinquish power if the people no longer support it. “Dictatorship is deeply rooted in Myanmar. The NLD needs to win the election in order to end that system. If the NLD wins the election to the extent that it can form the government, [dictatorship] will die. We won’t use that system because we have been oppressed by it,” he said.


The party that came in from the cold
Friday, October 2

Outlawed for 24 years, exiles of the Democratic Party for a New Society have been allowed to return to Myanmar where the party has re-registered with the Union Election Commission and is set to take part in next month’s elections.

The student-led DPNS was formed on October 14, 1988, after the military junta brutally repressed pro-democracy protests. The party enjoyed a strong support base of some 200,000 members at its peak and lent support to the National League for Democracy in the 1990 elections.


NLD patron meets prominent monks
Monday, October 5

U Tin Oo, veteran patron of the National League for Democracy and head of its campaign committee, has met two prominent Ma Ba Tha monks in an apparent effort to defuse tensions with the nationalist association, which the party accuses of political interference. The 88-year-old former defence minister spoke with U Wirathu, widely known as the movement’s most outspoken zealot, in Mandalay on September 30.


Opinion: The election’s known unknowns
Thursday, October 1

It’s time to take a walk on the wild side and make some predictions about the most important event in Myanmar’s modern history, namely the general election in just over a month’s time.

Yes, there are ethnic and regional parties, but despite the record of the military and the condescension of the NLD toward minorities, there is little chance these parties will win more than a few dozen seats.


Land-grab communities hope for election saviour
Thursday, October 1

Daw Naw Kapaw Lay La says she lost 100 acres to a palm oil plantation project made possible by the signing of a ceasefire between the government and Karen National Union in January 2012. “I’m also praying not to lose any more of my land,” she says.

But none of the parties in the area will offer more than a token commitment to help them, said resident Ko Saw Aye Tun, 37.


Watch out for invalid and advance votes: NLD patron
Thursday, October 1

Election observation groups and commission officials need to work together to ensure that advance votes do not sway the result of the election, as they did in 2010, U Tin Oo told supporters in Kyaukse.

In that election, which the NLD boycotted, USDP candidates received thousands of advance votes of unknown provenance. In dozens of constituencies these votes tipped the balance in favour of the military-backed party, which won around three-quarters of all seats.


Land return was not campaign stunt: Mandalay Chief Minister
Thursday, October 1

About 400 out of thousands of acres taken for three military projects in U Ye Myint’s constituency has been returned to farmers in recent months, fuelling accusations that the process is politically motivated.

But U Ye Myint said the return of the land was in line with the law and not connected to the election. Farmers had also been told that they would get the land regardless of who they vote for.


Analysis: Business community hopes reforms will continue after election
Wednesday, September 30 

Attention is on the November 8 polls – perhaps too much attention for businesses, who are keen to see what changes come next.
The transition to quasi-civilian rule following the 2010 elections and the ascension of U Thein Sein to the presidency has led to significant economic momentum. Yet Myanmar still languishes as a designated Least Developed Country and also as a member of the CLMV block of the least developed ASEAN countries, also including Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.


Click here for our full fifth special Election Supplement: Business in Focus


Foreign business takes stock of the NLD
Wednesday, September 30

As Myanmar prepares itself for historic elections in November, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) encourages voters to “vote for change”, a slogan that has left investors worried about what that would mean for their businesses.

Uncertainty about the NLD’s economic policy stems largely from a campaigning environment in which policies are not a priority and political parties tend to limit themselves to populist slogans, rather than detailed plans.


 

IN PICTURES: Members of the National Democratic Force rallied in Mandalay yesterday. The party, which was formed by a...

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Q&A: U Khin Hlaing makes the case for independent candidates
Wednesday, September 30

Businessperson U Khin Hlaing is no stranger to controversy.

A well-known entrepreneur, he currently sits on Yangon City Development Committee, but spoke to Zay Yar Lin about throwing his hat into the ring to sit in the Pyithu Hluttaw from Yangon’s Kyeemyindaing township. Known as an outspoken politician, he was vocal in opposing four property developments near Shwedagon Pagoda earlier this year.


Outside investors wary ahead of vote
Wednesday, September 30

U Aung Thura, CEO of Thura Swiss consultancy, said investors are watching the election. While there had once been a rush, foreign investors went quiet with one year or six months to go before the election.

“They would rather not invest now as it is an uncertain time,” he said. U Aung Thura added there is nothing for them to lose for watching at the moment.


NLD candidates quietly break from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s message
Wednesday, September 30

Party leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi might be telling voters to only consider the party when voting, but National League for Democracy candidates in Yangon’s Pabedan township insist it’s important residents know who they are supporting.

Pyithu Hluttaw candidate U Nay Pu Ba Swe said it was essential that voters “know their candidate” so they can make an informed choice. “We are introducing ourselves to voters so that they can get to know us and see what we are like,” he said. “We are telling them, ‘Vote for us and let us work for your rights and needs.’”


Opinion: Ma Ba Tha, USDP: Myanmar election bedfellows?
Wednesday, September 30

In a formal message to the Ma Ba Tha events in Yangon and Ayeyarwady regions, Insein Ywarma Sayadaw urged the public to vote for candidates who will “protect the protection of race and religion laws” and avoid those who would “destroy” them – the NLD.

After the USDP government and parliament passed the “protection of race and religion” laws, some Ma Ba Tha monks openly opposed the NLD on the grounds of religion. USDP candidates are now using the “race and religion” issue during their campaign


Kachin State warlord ordered to let opponents campaign
Wednesday, September 30 

The Kachin State election sub-commission called yesterday’s meeting yesterday after U Zakhung Ting Ying, an independent Amyotha Hluttaw representative who heads the New Democratic Army-Kachin, ordered political parties to stay out of his territory, prompting the NLD to file a formal complaint to the commission.


Ma Ba Tha branch steps up activities in Shan State
Wednesday, September 30 

Leaders of the Ma Ba Tha branch in northern Shan State say they are targeting Muslim cattle smugglers, amid concerns that the organisation is raising religious tension ahead of the elections.


USDP: We brought democracy to Myanmar
Tuesday, September 29

Facing an election it is widely anticipated to lose by a landslide, the ruling party focuses on selling its track record of overseeing the political and economic changes brought in the wake of the 2011 transition, and hopes to bolster enough votes to elect the next president.

“Ladies and gentlemen! Which party started democracy?” U Tin Naing Thein, former minister of the President’s Office and a retired brigadier general, asked the gathering of Union Solidarity and Development Party candidates and supporters in the military stronghold.


Ex-political prisoner courts controversy in campaign speech
Tuesday, September 29

U Kaung Myint Htut was detained by police in 1988 when he was just 13, and went on to spend years as a political prisoner before deciding to register as a candidate.

“Both are just trying to get power. The NLD never allied with other political groups – it believes it can be the only winner, and the USDP think the same,” he said. “The NLD told people it will be the only winner, but it can’t form a government after the election. People have been expecting too much.”


Domestic migrants, temporary residents still not on voter lists
Monday, September 28

The voter list concluded its second public display in most of the country’s states and regions yesterday, even as many claim the electoral rolls are as error-ridden as ever.

U Thinkhar Kyaw, a Rakhine National Party member competing for a Pyithu hluttaw seat in Yangon’s Hlaing Thar township said that while there are over 150,000 ethnic Rakhine residents in the township just 4000 of them are reflected on the voter list.


 

IN PICTURES: Pedal power gets behind election push
Trishaw riders jam the streets in Yangon as part of a...

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Monday, September 28, 2015

NLD claims barred from Coco Island race
Monday, September 28 

Located 300 kilometers south of mainland Myanmar in the Indian Ocean, the Coco Islands are about as remote as it gets – and now the small islands are at the center of the latest election complaint. Because the island is reachable only by chartered flight or boat, and as the population is comprised primarily of navy military officials, the National League for Democracy does not think the upcoming election will be fairly contested on the 10km by 2km island.


Carter Center frets over election credibility
Monday, September 28 

The U.S.-based Carter Center questioned the legitimacy of the candidate scrutiny process that scrubbed more than 100 election hopefuls from the final list. Though the Union Election Commission reinstated 11 Muslim nominees just before the Carter Center released its findings on September 25, 99 candidates continue to be barred from the polls, largely due to the alleged citizenship status of their parents.


Cash flow problem strikes small parties’ campaign plans
Monday, September 28

Only a handful of political parties have applied for permission to canvass in Mandalay, even though permit requirements have been relaxed and election day looms less than six weeks away.

“I haven’t put in an application to canvass yet,” said U Hein Htet Aung, vice chair of the People’s Democracy Party. “We need more funds and manpower for our party. But we will hand out pamphlets door-to-door and talk to voters when the election is nearer.”


Over 100,000 people missing from voter lists in Kayin State
Monday, September 28 

Kayin politicians have angrily criticised a decision by the Union Election Commission to strip more than 100,000 people in Kayin State of the right to vote in the November 8 election on security grounds. The decision is expected to revive widespread concerns that the supposedly neutral UEC, whose chair is a former general, is biased in favour of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, which is dominated by retired military officers.


Ruling party campaigns quietly in Mon State
Monday, September 28

U Thant Zin, USDP secretary in Mon State, is running in Paung township for a seat in the state parliament. He says he learned a hard lesson about failure in the 2010 election, when he lost by just 22 votes to an ethnic Mon party candidate.

The USDP has not yet staged big public rallies but it is knocking on doors in three villages a day, says U Thant Zin, predicting the party will take more than 60pc of the vote in the state.


Analysis: Spurned farmers see few green shoots
Wednesday, September 23 

“We don’t understand politics, but we haven’t heard of a party that really cares for us,” said U Tun Tun Win, a farmer from Sanchi village in Dawei township, Tanintharyi Region. “The most important thing for us is the right to own our lands with strong legal protections. If not, our lands can be confiscated by whoever they want.”
 

 


Click here for our full Week 4 Special Election Supplement: The Rural Vote


Under pressure on all sides, UEC reinstates 11 Muslim candidates
Friday, September 25

Eleven Muslim politicians have successfully challenged their controversial disqualification from contesting the November elections following a surprise reversal by the Union Election Commission.

The UEC had disqualified 124 would-be candidates earlier this month, many of them Muslims, following a murky vetting process. Two of those rejected were incumbent members of parliament, including a Muslim representative of the USDP who had applied to run as an independent.


Q&A: ‘The USDP will try to win in the constituencies they need to control militarily or economically’: Aung Thu
Friday, September 25

Aung Thu, a former political prisoner and a labour affairs expert at the 88 Generation and Open Society, is one of the 323 independent candidates contesting Myanmar’s November 8 general elections.

He speaks with Myanmar Now reporter Ei Cherry Aung about his decision to run as an independent candidate and his expectations about the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party’s election strategy.


Outspoken Yangon politicianDaw Nyo Nyo Thin campaigns quietly
Friday, September 25

Nicknamed the “solo running horse” of Yangon Region parliament for her lone defiance of the ruling party, Bahan township’s independent candidate Daw Nyo Nyo Thin marched into her third day of grassroots campaigning yesterday.

Daw Nyo Nyo Thin was elected in the 2010 general election as a Yangon regional parliamentarian. She gained popularity for her outspoken critiques against the city’s lack of transparency in big projects including the New Yangon City Development and the Dagon City Projects.


Ma Ba Tha takes aim at defamation accusations
Friday, September 25

Nationalists monks of the Ma Ba Tha association have rejected accusations of defamation levelled by the National League for Democracy, branding the party’s claims as irresponsible and aimed at destroying its efforts to protect Buddhism.

Senior NLD officials on September 21 accused Ma Ba Tha groups of using sermons and distributing leaflets and CDs to defame the party and urge people not to give it their vote in the November 8 elections. They named three townships in Ayeyarwady and one each in the regions of Tanintharyi and Sagaing where Ma Ba Tha had allegedly attacked the party.


We will be watching: Youth network prepares 1300 observers
Thursday, September 24

The National Youth Network is to conduct a nationwide exercise in the run-up to the November elections to train and deploy electoral observers. The effort is funded by the National Democratic Institute of the United States, which is also providing training and technical support.

“Of the 30 million voters in this country, nearly half are under 35. We’re worried that those 15 million people won’t be interested in politics because they work so hard and see no opportunities."


Q&A:'Economy would improve if we can increase women’s incomes’: Cheery Zahau
Thursday, September 24

The 34-year-old is aiming for a Lower House seat in Falam Township, where her parents were born. She is one of five women candidates from the Chin Progressive Party (CPP) to run in the Nov. 8 polls in Myanmar. In an interview with Myanmar Now chief correspondent Thin Lei Win she spoke of her motivations and the challenges of entering politics.
 


Aggrieved farmers confront Minister over land grabs during rally
Thursday, September 24

Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation U Myint Hlaing came under pressure from constituents yesterday over allegations land had been taken from farmers and placed in his wife’s name. But the minister, who has previously been linked to large land grabs during his time as a regional military commander, deflected the questions, urging the aggrieved farmers to settle their problems through the legal system.


UEC extends voter list displays
Thursday, September 24

In flood-struck regions, the Union Election Commission is extending the voter list display period beyond the original deadline of September 27. The display stations have seen ambivalent turnouts, according to election monitors, and those who have checked have found it remains error-ridden, with many of the same problems that plagued it the first go-around, including missing names, deceased residents still listed and some, ethnic minority voters absent.


'Asked what I represent, I represent farmers’: Q&A with National Democratic Force candidate U Aung Zin
Wednesday, September 23

Having sat as MP for Yangon Region’s Pazundaung township in the Pyithu Hluttaw since 2010, U Aung Zin of the National Democratic Force is now spearheading the party’s push into Nay Pyi Taw constituencies, targeting a seat in Ottarathiri. He spoke to Htoo Thant about the decision to realign his base with his interests, and the importance of nurturing the country’s agrarian majority.
 
 


Election takes a back seat as flood-hit Magwe’s farmers struggle to rebuild
Wednesday, September 23

“The most important thing for us now is our family’s living. We are not interested to see if we are included in voter list,” says Ko Htet Aung Kyaw, a paddy farmer from Kyaung Taw Yar village in Pwintbyu township.

For the tens of thousands of farmers in Magwe Region still reeling from last month’s floods, the November election may not register as high-priority. With upwards of 100,000 displaced and having lost their livelihoods, the immediate need to rebuild means the election is the last thing on many people’s minds.


The Campaign Trail with Daw Nant Than Myint Kyi, People’s Party of Myanmar Farmers and Workers
Wednesday, September 23 

"We will work for farmers’ rights and seek land ownership rights for those who are cultivating. We will also try to ensure good-quality paddy seeds for farmers and have them sold for a good price. Then we will work for women’s rights, to protect them from losing their rights."
 


NLD leader promises clean government
Wednesday, September 23 

“If the NLD will have the chance to form a government after the November election, the only promise I can give you is that we will form a clean government,” she said. “No corruption will be tolerated.”

After delivering that message in Kungyangon in Yangon Region, the 70-year-old NLD leader, who is criss-crossing the country in her two-month campaign, took her convoy of vehicles to Dedaye township in Ayeyarwady Region where about 1000 people welcomed her under a glaring sun.


NUP candidate promises a university in Nay Pyi Taw
Wednesday, September 23 

A National Unity Party candidate in Nay Pyi Taw has promised to push for a university in the capital if elected to office.

U Thar Aung, who will contest the Pyithu Hluttaw seat of Pyinmana, said it was a personal pledge rather than party policy. “The university is not in the party objectives but we do have a policy about improving education for young people in the future,” he said.


Armed group disrupts voter list access in Shan State
Wednesday, September 23 

An unknown armed group is threatening residents two rural townships in Muse District as they go to check voter lists for the November 8 election, a local official has confirmed. The two-week display period is the final chance for voters to submit a correction if they are missing from the roll or their personal information is incorrect.


Scandal-ridden Minister admits tough fight to hold seat
Wednesday, September 23 

Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation U Myint Hlaing has admitted to doubts over whether he can win his Nay Pyi Taw seat on November 8 in the face of strong competition from the National League for Democracy. The Minister said he was facing a much different electoral environment than in 2010, when he and the USDP cruised to victory.
 


CSOs help migrants enrol to vote
Wednesday, September 23 

Some 20,000 migrant workers in Mandalay Region are on track to vote from outside their constituency, thanks to an initiative from civil society groups. Many of those who staff Mandalay’s restaurants, teashops, hotels and factories hail from rural areas.


NLD leader continues to power through nationwide campaign schedule
Tuesday, September 22 

Criss-crossing the country, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is clocking up the miles as the only party leader with nationwide status drawing the crowds ahead of the November elections. Yesterday the 70-year-old National League for Democracy leader made her first visit to her own constituency of Kawhmu, a township of some 100,000 residents across the river from Yangon.

‘’I heard that the villagers, especially civil servants, were threatened. However, do not be afraid of anything, and I want to say please vote for the NLD so that threats will not happen again,” she said.


Concerns for election turnout along remote Myeik coast
Tuesday, September 22 

It's not looking good for the government. But then it’s not looking too good for the opposition either. Down in the Myeik Archipelago, many voters seem not to be very enthusiastic about any of the parties – or about elections, or voting.

Mother of two Ma Einn Gyin, 36, of Pa Eaint village, about two hours from Myeik by boat, hasn’t given the election much thought. She’s not even sure if her name is on the voters list. “I have no time. My husband goes out on his fishing boat every day and I stay home to look after the children and the shop,” she said.


NLD details laundry list of complaints against UEC
Tuesday, September 22 

The NLD alleges electoral authorities, from township sub-commissions to the Union Election Commission in Nay Pyi Taw, have failed to take action over myriad complaints lodged by the NLD. “We daresay that this electoral roll display contains a large quantity of errors, and the process to scrutinise voter lists is very complicated,” said NLD patron U Tin Oo.


The Lady offers the Tatmadaw an olive branch
Tuesday, September 22 

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi last night invited the military to join her in a cooperative effort to establish a federal democratic state after the November 8 elections.

She said the first stage was to sign the ceasefire accord, the second to hold political dialogue and the third to have a constitution that guarantees the Pang-long agreements of equality and self-determination.


Moustache Brothers use jokes to help nab votes
Tuesday, September 22 

Famed satirists the Moustache Brothers are leveraging their jokes and notoriety to support the National League for Democracy.

Brothers U Lu Maw and U Lu Zaw – infamous for their witty takedowns of the ruling party that sent U Lu Zaw and his cousin and fellow Moustache Brother U Par Par Lay to prison – are long-time NLD fans. U Lu Maw said the nine party flags of NLD fly in front of his house, while prized pictures of General Aung San and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi adorn his home.


Lack of interest plagues voter lists
Tuesday, September 22 

Names aren’t the only thing missing from electoral rolls out for a second display. According to an election observing group, the voters themselves have been largely absent from the process. “In centers observed, PACE saw low levels of voter turnout and low levels of voters making changes or additions to the list,” said a report from the election observers released yesterday.


More than 20,000 Ethnic Mon left off electoral rolls
Monday, September 21 

U Kyaw Win Maung, chair of the state’s election sub-commission, said residents of some villages in Kya-In Seikkyi township had not been entered on the electoral lists because of security reasons.

Naing Chit Oo, the Mon Ethnic Affairs Minister for Kayin State, said he suspected that the commission of being manipulated by a political party afraid of votes going to a rival ethnic Mon party. The dispute in a relatively remote area of Kayin State highlights the fears of parties opposed to the military-backed government that “security” issues could be used as a pretext to influence the outcome of the vote, especially in ethnic-controlled border regions.


Voter list errors and omissions pile up on UEC
Monday, September 21 

As electoral officials continue their nationwide effort to complete an accurate voters list in advance of the November election, thousands of errors and omitted names continue to riddle the publicly posted inventories.

U Than Myint, the National League for Democracy chair in Hlaing Tharyar township, is helping to collect the voter list and said the errors are particularly concerning. “We are worried that they are trying to shrink the voter list,” he said.


Opinion: NLD needs to lift the standard
Monday, September 21

It is inevitable that after all the hype, some people are frustrated with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy. The NLD is still largely defined by her aura.

Such status means the NLD leader is not treated like other politicians. It has enabled her to postpone serious policy development even though, in the five years since she was released from house arrest, there have been ample opportunities to create a new vision for Myanmar’s future.


Candidate touts largesse as election battle heats up
Monday, September 21 

By his own account, U Myo Nyunt spent K4.3 billion on education, K4.5 billion on health, K67.7 billion on transportation and K6 billion to improve electricity access in the four townships – Lewe, Pyinmana, Zabuthiri and Dekkhinathiri – that make up the constituency. Taxpayers’ money, of course – not from his own pocket.

The field features a number of colourful candidates. U Kyaw Win, a former director general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, is facing a vote-buying complaint from an NLD representative in another constituency for handing out rice and oil in Dekkhinathiri township.


Voter list manipulation feared in Hlaing Thar township
Friday, September 18 

Voter lists unveiled and listed publically for a second time this week caused a panic in Hlaing Taryar township where at least 250,000 names are missing, according to complaints sent to the election commission.

The populous industrial outskirt of Yangon is an opposition stronghold, and is also full of residents that complicate voter lists: domestic migrants, squatters and temporary households.


Fresh fighting in Shan State clouds election
Friday, September 18 

Colonel Sai La, spokesperson for the Restoration Council of Southern Shan State (RCSS), told The Myanmar Times yesterday that two Tatmadaw soldiers died in intensive fighting that has again broken out in the area.

An RCSS statement said the armed group has warned the political parties to suspend election campaigning temporarily amid the fighting, with RCSS troops searching for Tatmadaw units in the areas. The statement added that innocent villagers had been arrested by the Tatmadaw.


Election 101: 'She Leads' voter education for women in Kayah State
Friday, September 18 

It’s two months until the country is due to hold the election that has been heralded as the first legitimate such poll in decades, but in Kayah State’s capital Loikaw a group of women are getting some practice in early.

The election simulation exercise on September 8 is part of the She Leads training program which is running classes for over 500 women in all 14 states and regions throughout the country. The aim is not just to provide voter education to those who attend, but also to give participants the tools and confidence to spread voting information with others back in their communities.


Observing women's role in elections
Friday, September 18 

Phan Te Eain, a women’s organisation, is monitoring the role of women in the political process, whether as party candidates, activists, voters or as officials in the Union Election Commission. Program manager Daw Khin Lay Nge told The Myanmar Times on September 16 that the program aims to examine transparency, responsibility, accountability and meaningful participation in politics surrounding the election.


Ministry to print 125 million ballot papers
Friday, September 18 

The Ministry of Information will print more than 125 million ballot papers for the November 8 election and guaranteed voters that the forms will not be the source of any uncounted votes. U Aung Myo Myint, director of publishing and distribution under the ministry, said yesterday that the ballot papers incorporate security stripes and a Union Election Commission (UEC) logo watermark. He added that printing has started.


ANALYSIS: We report, you decide?
Wednesday, September 16 

With less than two months to go, it is beginning to dawn on people how novel,how large and how difficult the November elections will be in many respects. For journalists and the media, the picture is also complex – it will be the first election since 1960 to be held without censorship – pre-publication censorship was abolished four months after the April 2012 by-elections. While that obstacle has been lifted, many others remain to ensuring fair and balanced coverage.


Click here for our third Special Election Supplement: Elections and the Media


Daw Suu Kyi plans 'risky' Rakhine campaign trip
Thursday, September 17 

National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will next month embark on one of the toughest political challenges of her leadership: winning over voters in Rakhine State. The Nobel Peace Prize winner will make her first trip to the conflict-riven state since being released from house arrest in 2010.

She has faced significant criticism in Rakhine due to perceptions she is too focused on human rights, soft on “race and religion”, and sympathetic to the cause of the state’s Muslims. Internationally, however, she has been castigated for failing to speak out against communal violence targeting Muslims in Rakhine State and elsewhere.


Special election police to include thoughts of raw recruits
Thursday, September 17 

None of the 784 candidates were rejected in a vetting process that took just under an hour, according to Captain Tin Tun of Thanlyin township police station. “We have checked the applicants to make sure they have no criminal records, that they have a clean record and no connection to a political party,” he said.

But given the importance of the day, some political parties and NGOs have raised concerns over the prospect of tens of thousands of untrained civilians taking on such a role.


UEC forms dispute resolution committee
Thursday, September 17 

The Union Election Commission is to head a dispute resolution committee to tackle problems arising before and after the November elections.

The committee will be led by UEC chair U Tin Aye, a former general and former MP for the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Its membership will include Union ministers, election officials from state and region sub-commissions, and representatives from 10 political parties.


Election reporting in the dark days of 2010
Wednesday, September 16 

In the final week of 2009 I sat down to pen The Myanmar Times’ New Year message to readers. It began by stating that with a general election looming there has “rarely been more reason to expect serious progress”, and that 2010 will “be one of the most important years in the country’s post-independence history”.

The message now looks somewhat prescient, despite its lack of detail. While writing it, however, I was far from confident that we would indeed see positive progress. 


'Some can’t decide whether they are activists or journalists’: QA with U Myint Kyaw
Wednesday, September 16 

"We have much more freedom of expression now and self censorship has decreased. During the 2010 election, local journalists didn’t cover news freely like they do now; often, they decided not to cover something that they thought [would be censored]."

Myanmar Journalist Network and Myanmar Press Council (Interim) member U Myint Kyaw tells Nyein Ei Ei Htwe about newfound media freedoms and their limits, as well how they should be used when covering the election.


Who would run against The Lady?
Wednesday, September 16 

Four candidates have registered to take on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in rural Kawhmu but there is little expectation of anything other than another massive victory for the Nobel laureate. “It would be foolish to think they can take the seat from Daw Aung San Suu Kyi,” said U Win Htein, a senior member of the NLD member and parliamentarian for Meiktila in Mandalay Region.
 


UEC rejects concerns over voter ID plan
Wednesday, September 16 

The Union Election Commission has defended its controversial decision to issue 32 million voter ID cards shortly before the November elections, saying the process will be transparent and is well-intentioned. The UEC says it will only be compulsory to have a voter ID card to cast a ballot on November 8 if the voter does not have a regular ID document, widely known as a pink card.


Independents have election "disease," says USDP rep
Wednesday, September 16 

The controversy over independent candidates has continued, with former minister for defence U Wai Lwin telling voters they have a “seasonal disease” that compels them to contest elections. The former general, who is running as a USDP candidate for a lower house seat in Nay Pyi Taw’s Pobbathiri, said he also told constituents that voting for independents would hinder local development.


'British spy' claim in smear campaign against NLD leader
Wednesday, September 16

Claims on social media that a “British spy” is working as a political adviser to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi have been dismissed by the National League for Democracy as a “ridiculous” smear campaign ahead of the elections. Postings last week on Facebook made by users who formerly served in the military accused Joe Fisher, a former British diplomat working as a “liaison officer” for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, of being a spy for the British intelligence service.


Campaign struggles to reach military
Wednesday, September 16

The National League for Democracy candidate running against the former defence minister in Nay Pyi Taw is having a tough time getting his campaign message across in a constituency with a high number of serving military personnel.

U Yee Mon, a poet and former political prisoner, is up against U Wai Lwin, who only a month ago retired as a lieutenant general and stepped down as defence minister to run as a United Solidarity and Development Party candidate in Pobbathiri, one of eight townships in the capital. “It is not easy to get access to military compounds,” U Yee Mon, also known as Maung Tin Thit, told The Myanmar Times on September 14.


Northern Rakhine facing major political shake-up
Tuesday, September 15 

In 2010 some 150,000 of Rakhine State’s Muslim population in the northern township of Buthidaung exercised their right to vote. When Myanmar goes to the polls in November, short of a last-minute registration rush, that number could be closer to 10.

The government’s decision this year to nullify and revoke the temporary identity documents, known as white cards, held by many Rohingya, along with the announcement that white card holders could no longer vote or seek office means the Muslim-majority north of Rakhine State is in line for a major political shake-up.


Opposition releases manifesto heavy on buzzwords, sparse on details
Tuesday, September 15 

The broad strokes, 20-page document released yesterday hit all the NLD pet issues, from constitutional reform to implementing a federal system to decentralising finances. While heavy on the buzz words – “transparency”, “development” and “national reconciliation” – the manifesto is light on the concrete practicalities of governance.


 

IN PICTURES: A resident of Thaketa township searches for names on a list of eligible voters at a ward administration...

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Monday, September 14, 2015

NLD extends media ban for candidates
Tuesday, September 15 

In its latest gag order for party members contesting the November elections, the National League for Democracy has warned would-be parliamentarians to stay away from anyone who could fall under the Unlawful Associations Act. The ban on talking to members of the media also remains in place.

The party’s gag orders have been criticised for hampering democratic free speech. But U Win Htein, a senior executive member of the NLD, brushed off these complaints, saying they were not a concern for the NLD. “The party is just focused on winning a majority in the election,” he said.


Former minister warns of Syria syndrome
Tuesday, September 15 

Former defence minister U Wai Lwin, who has shed his general’s uniform to run for parliament, has warned that reforms should move ahead “smoothly and gently” and that Myanmar must avoid the risk of ending up like Syria.


Independents hit back at NLD leader for ‘worthless’ remark
Tuesday, September 15 

Independent candidates are taking offence at Daw Aung San Suu Kyi calling a vote for them “worthless”. During her most recent canvassing in Kayah State last weekend, the National League for Democracy leader discouraged voting for independent politicians in an attempt to rally support under her party’s banner and score as many parliament seats as possible.


ANALYSIS: Women ready for tilt at more seats in 2015
Wednesday, September 9 

Parliament should have a certain quota of female representatives,” said a young woman. “And then what will you do if unqualified women get seats?” a man immediately responded. “But do you think all the men now in parliament are qualified?” retorted a second man.

Political parties have responded to pressure and have boosted their numbers of female candidates running in November. In 2010 there were only 101 female candidates. This year, according to the Union Election Commission, nearly 800 women are standing among more than 6000 candidates in the national and state-level elections.


Click here for our second Special Election Supplement: Women in Politics



Tangled interests and lack of voter awareness confront Daw Suu Kyi
Monday, September 14 

Pride of place in the welcome line-up was given to the famous “long neck” women of the Padaung minority. But as activists pinned peacock badges on the women’s traditional tops, and bemused members of the Bre minority contingent shuffled awkwardly as the press snapped their photos, there arose an uncomfortable feeling that many of those led there by local party members to greet The Lady on September 10 had little genuine interest in the NLD.


USDP campaigns in strongholds, promises development
Monday, September 14 

Prominent candidates of the ruling USDP campaigned in hoped-for strongholds over the weekend, with parliamentary speaker Thura U Shwe Mann declaring he was politically alive and well despite his purge as party leader during an internal coup last month.

Countering the NLD slogan “vote for change”, retired general U Wai Lin said, “We need to make changes smoothly, with considerations of potential pitfalls.” “That’s why I’d like to say, vote for our party – we are making changes by considering the current situation.”


More than 100 scrubbed from final candidate list
Monday, September 14 

Over 100 election hopefuls – mostly minority candidates – were knocked out of the running in the Union Election Commission’s final list, with citizenship status by far the most common stumbling block.

The commission appears not to have reversed any of its decisions on disqualified candidates despite a slew of appeals and accusations that the election body was discriminating against opposition parties and minorities.


 

An opposition National League for Democracy supporter from Shan State performs a traditional dance for crowds gathered...

Photo: AFPPhoto: AFP

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Monday, September 14, 2015

Speaker heads online to quietly launch campaign
Friday, September 11 

Less than a month after being ousted as party chair in adramatic coup last month, Thura U Shwe Mann launched his election campaign quietly yesterday, posting a note to his constituents on Facebook.

Known as a development juggernaut in his sitting constituency, Zeyathiri township, the Speaker promised voters in Pyu township – his former home town – similar results if they vote him back into parliament.


 

IN PICTURES: People wait in a field beside a poster that reads "Time for Change, For Real Changes Vote NLD", as they...

Photo: EPAPhoto: EPA

Posted by The Myanmar Times on Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sacked telecoms minister to contest his hometown seat
Friday, September 11 

Former telecoms minister U Thein Tun – fired by U Thein Sein’s government in 2013 on the eve of a major corruption investigation – is making a comeback bid. The former genera will stand for the Union Solidarity and Development Party in his Magwe region home town, which he also won in 2010.
 



Opinion: Parties need to articulate policies to win votes

Friday, September 11 

In Myanmar, this challenge is acute as parties seek to build a collective future. While voters are waiting to hear how each party will improve their daily lives, they also need clear, articulate party policies and platforms to enable them to make choices that will establish the pattern for the path of the country’s political and economic future.


Smaller parties fight to be heard as campaign season gets underway
Thursday, September 10 

The massive gulf in resources between the big two – the National League for Democracy and Union Solidarity and Development Party – and the rest of the election pack has been on full display since campaigning began September 8.

But other political parties contesting seats in Mandalay said they are struggling to find money to cover campaign expenses, and for now are instead relying on cost-effective strategies.


USDP candidates snub commission's campaign rules meeting
Thursday, September 10 

Seven government and military-linked election candidates registered in Nay Pyi Taw failed to turn up to an election commission meeting held to explain campaign rules. Some of those who did not show have already been accused of vote-buying ahead of the November 8 poll.

At the meeting, election sub-commission chair U Aung Htet Kyaw gave attendees an explanation of widely-criticised commission directives on holding public speeches and conducting campaign events.


Candidate calls for fair fight, fair treatment ahead of election
Thursday, September 10 

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. "The election commission should ensure that all candidates have equal rights."


Ex-government official drops campaigning complaint against NLD leader
Thursday, September 10 

An independent candidate for Nay Pyi Taw has withdrawn a complaint against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of pre-empting campaign season. U Kyaw Win’s complaint appeared to be retaliatory, as the case against him was filed by the local NLD contestant for allegedly pandering to voters withbribes and paraphernalia. U Kyaw Win allegedly distributed umbrellas emblazoned with “Let’s vote candidate U Myint Hlaing, by the people and for the people, Dekkhinathiri Township”. He also reportedly gave out rice and oil to teachers in the township.


'There is little room for women in our party:' Q&A with Rakhine National Party MP Daw Khin Saw Wai
Wednesday, September 9

"People voted for me without knowing anything about me in 2010. But now they know very well about me. Over the years I have tried to get on the ground and ask people what they need and then fulfill those needs as much as possible. Now they rely on me."
 


Housewives band together to fight for rights
Wednesday, September 9 

Furious: That’s how Mi Than Shin said she felt when the Union Election Commission (UEC) told her and her colleagues they could not register a political organisation under the name Women’s Party.

For Mi Than Shin, the party’s driving force, it was an unreasonable demand. The party was designed to represent all women, she said – even “all women around the world”. Changing the name would only diminish its scope.


'This is a chance we cannot afford let slip'
Wednesday, September 9

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi called on the international community yesterday to help ensure November polls bring “genuine political and governmental change” as campaigning officially kicked off.

Daw Suu Kyi hailed the November 8 vote as a “turning point” for Myanmar, which has been ruled by a quasi-civilian government since 2011. She also urged voters to think of future generations as they prepare to cast their ballots.


Opinion: Time for a chance in tactics, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Wednesday, September 9 

In its quest for power, has the National League for Democracy of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi been adopting that wrong tactic all along? Could the NLD achieve a large enough victory to elect the president and the cabinet that it wants? And if so, could the NLD actually take over the running of the country?

 


SNLD launches campaign in key battleground states
Wednesday, September 9 

The SNLD, also known as Tiger Head party, is running in three states – Shan, Kachin, Kayah – and in the region of Mandalay, with a total of 158 candidates. Shan State, the largest of Myanmar’s seven states, could prove to be a key battleground in the November elections.

“This is not about seats or power. This is about the pursuit of the people’s will.” U Khun Tun Oo told the party event, where he referred to the historic 1947 treaty inked by Bogyoke Aung San and ethnic leaders.


NUP battles against the odds
Wednesday, September 9 

The National Union Party is tapping into its Socialist roots to compete with the National League for Democracy and the Union Solidarity and Development Party. Spokesperson U Han Shwe told reporters that its election campaign and party policy broadcast on state-owned media will focus on “nine guarantees for workers”.


ANALYSIS: Behind the numbers and names, an election picture emerges
Wednesday, September 2 

Voter turn-out is bound to be high, with 32 million people eligible to cast ballots at 46,000 polling stations. But given the sheer scale of the event – 93 parties, 1171 constituencies and 6189 candidates – tracking the most interesting match-ups will prove a challenge for even the most dedicated political junkie.

Fortunately, The Myanmar Times' Kyaw Phone Kyaw has parsed the candidate list, perused the party lines and polled the pundits, helping you make sense of exactly it is what we’re looking at with just over two months to go until voting day.


Rules for campaigning mark a return to 2010
Tuesday, September 8 

The dimensions of the country’s landmark elections on November 8 are becoming clear – and so are the ground rules, which more closely resemble the widely condemned 2010 vote than the by-elections of 2012.

Insulting the government or the Tatmadaw, disturbing national unity, and interrupting law and order could earn campaigning candidates a sedition charge, while events must be pre-approved and speeches vetted.


Official campaign period starts, but only for some parties
Tuesday, September 8 

As with most deadlines and dates this election season, the start of the official candidate campaign period is rolling by today only partially heeded. Political parties had to miss scheduled campaign kick-off events – and the unveiling of campaign songs and slogans – because the candidate scrutiny process was behind schedule in some townships. The backlog caused a delay in the announcement of all the vetted election hopefuls.

 


Electoral officials ignore complaint against USDP minister
Tuesday, September 8 

Election commission officials concede they did not conduct a thorough background check on Minister for the President’s Office U Thein Nyunt, but say it is too late now to consider rejecting his candidacy.

“The district election commission passed him without vetting him very seriously because he is a USDP candidate,” said U Sein Win, the National League for Democracy candidate for Maubin, who filed the complaint.
 


Ex-government official files campaigning complaint against NLD leader
Tuesday, September 8 

U Kyaw Win, a former deputy director general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, submitted the complaint letter yesterday, accusing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of canvassing in the capital before the official start of campaigning. The 60-day campaign period officially gets under way today.

The complaint appears to be retaliatory. Earlier yesterday, an NLD candidate lodged a vote-buying complaint against U Kyaw Win with the Union Election Commission, a day after it was rejected by police.


Applications pour in for special election security police
Tuesday, September 8 

More than 5000 applicants have so far applied for the 5000 posts on offer in Mandalay Region, according to officials.

The election commission plans to appoint at least one security police officerat each of the 40,000 polling booths across the country.

Read more about election security plans here


Muslim candidates fear no shot at the polls
Monday, September 7 

With the finalised candidate list expected to be released today, barred Muslim election hopefuls fear not a single one of them will be left to contend the looming polls, leaving no one to represent what many estimate is Myanmar’s largest religious minority.

Leaders of Muslim parties said they have tried every avenue for appealing the disqualifications, including heaps of paperwork proving their eligibility. But none of it has prevailed so far.


Vote buying reports pervade ahead of start of campaigning
Monday, September 7 

Just two days before election campaigns officially begin, accusations of bribery are already flying in Nay Pyi Taw. At about 1 pm on September 6, NLD candidate U Than Zin Tun filed a police report against a rival for the Dekkhinathiri township seat in the Pyithu Hluttaw

This is not the first time election candidates have tested the Union Election Commission’s rules. Technically, political campaigns are restricted to the 60 days prior to the election, which begins September 8, and candidates are only allowed to spend K10 million on campaigns.


Daw Suu Kyi woos ethnic voters in Pao zone
Monday, September 7 

After spurning constituency-splitting deals with many ethnic minority parties, the opposition National League for Democracy yesterday attempted to woo the ethnic voting base.

She said the words “federal union” no fewer than 31 times when describing the aspirational NLD-led government to the public in Hsi Hseng and Hopong cities on September 5 and 6.
 


NLD adds new media ban ahead of manifesto release
Friday, November 4 

The National League for Democracy will release its election manifesto in the coming days, senior members say. Covering everything from education and health to the economy and agriculture, the manifesto could assuage concerns that the party is a policy lightweight.

The manifesto, which will serve as the party’s policy platform for the November 8 election, will cover a range of familiar themes: good governance, clean government, rule of law, peace and national reconciliation, and amendments to the constitution.


Millions abroad to miss out on chance to vote on November 8
Friday, November 4 

Just a fraction of Myanmar citizens living abroad have signed up to vote in the November 8 election. About 18,000 potential voters overseas have registered with the Union Election Commission, meaning millions more will miss out on filling in a ballot.

Ma Hay Man Thwe, a member of a Bangkok-based migrant affairs organisation, said she believed few people had submitted applications in Bangkok because the embassy had issue only a single statement on voting and had done no awareness-raising activities within Myanmar communities in Thailand.


KTVs ordered to close early during campaign season on bomb fears
Friday, November 4

Police have announced special security measures in Nay Pyi Taw in advance of the start of campaigning for the November 8 election. Amid rumours of the possible infiltration into the country of terror groups, owners of KTVs, which police say are known bomber haunts, have been instructed to close at 11pm every night.


Elections in doubt in flood-hit Chin State
Thursday, September 3 

The Chin National Democratic Party requested the delay as the impoverished northern state is still struggling to recover from record-setting rains and at least 15,000 residents remain displaced.
“If the commission held the election in Chin State on the set date it would be like approving the 2008 constitution in the wake of Nargis,” said U Zo Zam, chair of the Chin National Democratic Party.
 


Minister faces vote-buying allegations in Kayah State
Thursday, September 3 

U Soe Thein has gained a reputation for his lavish spending in Bawlakhe township, where he is contesting an Amyotha Hluttaw, or upper house, seat in November.

The former minister of industry turned presidential cabinet minister has spent more than K300 million (US$235,000) to build schools, bring piped water and electricity to the state, and arrange football matches, according to U Sai Naing Naing Htwe, the secretary of the Kayah Unity Democracy Party, which filed the complaint.


USDP candidate donates big to Ma Ba Tha
Thursday, September 3 

U Lin Zaw Tun, who will run in Shan State, gave K40 million (about US$31,000) to the Committee to Protect Nationality and Religion, better known by its Myanmar language acronym Ma Ba Tha.

Political analysts yesterday said the recent splurge in pre-campaign spending sprees did not resemble politics-free personal donations.
 


Ethnic alliance courts deal with major parties
Thursday, September 3 

“Neither the NLD nor USDP will win 40 percent of seats [in the Pyi-daungsu Hluttaw],” U Zo Zam, head of the Chin National Democratic Party, said at an NBF press conference on September 2. “They can’t neglect our ethnic role in forming government. They must negotiate with us.”


'Some people' can't accept parliament, says Speaker
Thursday, September 3 

Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann has launched an attack on the parliament’s opponents, saying they are struggling to “adapt” to checks and balances on their power.

Independent MP U Phone Myint Aung said the government was not used to having any check on its power.


‘Consider the party and the candidate’: Q&A with U Htay Oo
Wednesday, September 2 

Newly installed Union Solidarity and Development Party acting chair U Htay Oo will again contest the Pyithu Hluttaw seat of Hinthada on November 8. He tells chief political correspondent Ei Ei Toe Lwin about the party’s leadership change, its election strategy and why the public should vote USDP.

"I don’t want to say ‘vote for me’ or ‘vote for the party’ right now because the campaign period will only start on September 8. But we have been working to fulfil the people’s practical needs for many years. That’s why I think they trust us to some extent."


Click here to download our first weekly 4-page Special Election Supplement – Wednesday, September 2


More candidates cut from race as appeals thrown out
Wednesday, September 2 

In total, 88 candidates have been disqualified from standing for the November 8 election following a final check, UEC chair U Tin Aye said yesterday, jumping the total 39 more than previously announced. Citizenship criteria remains the major stumbling block.


 


Opinion: Why MPs fear the "right of recall" bill
Wednesday, September 2

Is the issue one of legality or politics?

According to the 2008 constitution, citizens have the right to remove an elected member of parliament. A minimum of 1 percent of the original voters in the representative’s constituency must then submit a complaint to the Union Election Commission against the representative.


Nay Pyi Taw Council member makes first foray into constituency
Wednesday, September 2 

Nay Pyi Taw Council member U Than Htay spent several days this week touring the capital’s Zeyathiri township to promote “community development”, his first visit to the area since his appointment to the council by President U Thein Sein in 2011.


Thousands in Mandalay apply to change voting constituency
Wednesday, September 2 

Almost 20,000 people have already applied to vote in Mandalay Region rather than their original constituency, the election commission says. On August 19, the Union Election Commission announced that those living outside their home constituency for at least 180 days prior to the election could apply to change to the constituency in which they are living.  
 


Commission rejects nearly 50 candidates
Tuesday, September 1 

State and region election sub-commissions have rejected almost 50 candidates from contesting the November 8 election. Rakhine State had the highest number rejected with 19, followed by Bago and Yangon regions and Shan State. The National League for Democracy has so far lost six candidates, while the Union Solidarity and Development Party has not had any rejected.



 
 


Election commission rejects Muslim candidates en masse
Tuesday, September 1 

Nineteen election candidates in northern Rakhine State have been barred from running by the district sub-election commission, which called into question their residency status and the citizenship of their parents.

“Most [of the disqualified nominees] are Bengalis,” district election officer U San Win Tun told The Myanmar Times yesterday.


Opinion: Is democracy really lost in translation?
Wednesday, September 2

Those seeking to support democratisation in Myanmar’s political transition would do well to remember that political and democratic thinking does not only come from the West.

 

 


Parties condemn UEC restrictions
Tuesday, September 1 

Politicians contesting the November 8 elections can soon have a slice of state media airtime – so long as they don’t mind a little censorship with their democracy. Remarks must be vetted in advance and the candidates cannot insult the army, the government or the 2008 constitution – and officials have suggested similar restrictions will apply during all political campaigning.



You've reached the end! For up-to-the-minute news and updates about Myanmar's upcoming election, Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @TheMyanmarTimes, and be sure to check your daily copy of The Myanmar Times in English and weekly in Myanmar-language for in-depth election analysis and insights.

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