TNLA, SSPP to Allow Election Campaigning in Their Territories

Monday, August 17, 2020

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) will allow political parties to campaign in their territory ahead of Burma’s general election in November, as long as it does not exacerbate ethnic tension, a spokesperson for the armed group said.

“We will allow the election campaign, but they need to avoid speaking about things that insult other ethnic groups,” Maj Mai Aik Kyaw, who is in charge of the TNLA’s information department, said. “We do not support the election in Burma, but people can vote independently in the election. We won’t disturb the election,” he added, explaining that the TNLA rejects the country’s military-drafted 2008 Constitution under which the election is taking place.

Maj Mai Aik Kyaw added that even though the TNLA “does not accept the election,” the organization believes in “practicing democracy.”

The TNLA is active throughout northern Shan State, in Kyaukme, Hsipaw, Lashio, Namkham, Muse, Namtu, Kutkai, Mongmit, and Namhsan townships.

The Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) has also said that they would allow political parties to campaign in their territory, so that people can make an informed vote.

SSPP spokesperson Maj Sai Phone Harn said that the SSPP did not block election campaigning or voting in their areas in the past.

“According to the rules of democracy, they have rights. It’s their right,” he told NMG, referring to the people living in the territory under their control. “We want them to vote independently in the election, so we are allowing election campaigning and voting in our area.”

No political parties have yet to campaign in their area, which includes Kesi, Mong Nong, Mong Hsu, Tangyan, Mongreh, Hsipaw, Kyaukme and Namtu townships according to the SSPP.

The Union Election Commission has not yet announced the election campaign period.

Both the SSPP and the TNLA are members of the negotiating body the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC).

It is not yet clear whether other FPNCC members will officially allow electoral campaigning to take place in their areas.