Electoral Campaigns Grow in Ye Township

Thursday, October 15, 2020

As electoral campaigns gain momentum in Mon State’s Ye Township, the local election commission is concerned about conflict arising between candidates and political parties.

Seven political parties, as well as multiple independent candidates, are running for election on November 8 in the township. Among the parties that have launched campaigns drawing thousands of supporters are the National League for Democracy (NLD), Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), Mon Unity Party (MUP), and the United Democratic Party (UDP).

“These parties and thousands of their supporters mainly turn up to move around Ye town,” Nyi Thwe, chairperson of the Ye Township Election Commission, told NMG. “When parties come to apply for their election campaigns, we have to make sure of which area and which route they are using to go through the town. For example, if a party is going to the southern part of the town, we won’t allow another party to go to the southern part of the town. If a party is going south, we will allow another party to go north. If their planned trips overlap, we are worried that there will be conflict between different parties.”

One month into the designated campaign period, political activities have grown, since being launched amid COVID-19-related restrictions on gathering.

The Union Election Commission (UEC) has announced the campaign period to take place between September 8 and November 6.

The MUP has significant rivals—mainly the NLD and USDP—in Ye Township, but say that their support has grown.

“We launched our campaign with 50 people—we followed health guidelines. But many people turned up to support us,” MUP spokesperson Nai San Tin told NMG. “It’s not only our party—other parties have done this too.”

He said that the party would campaign in both downtown Ye and in the township’s villages.

The NLD and the USDP will run in all 45 constituencies in Mon State, but the MUP is running in 35.

Civil society leaders have expressed concern about whether political parties were following health guidelines amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and have called on officials to enforce these rules to protect the public.

Some parties have opted to launch online campaigns rather than in-person campaigns due to the health risks of holding large gatherings.

A total of 302 candidates will run for election in Mon State: 291 candidates from 17 political parties and 11 independent candidates.

According to the Mon State Election Commission, there are more than 1.8 million eligible voters in the state for the 2020 general election.