Ethnic parties challenge NLD dominance at by-elections

Zarli Myint Oo

Twelve ethnic political parties will contest in vacant constituencies at the April 1 by-elections, according to the Union Election Commission.

There are 95 candidates from 24 political parties, and seven independent candidates that will run for 19 vacant constituencies. There are 27 representatives from ethnic political parties.

The nine Lower House seats have 49 candidates and 15 for three Upper House seats. The remaining 31 candidates will vie for seven state parliament seats.

“Our party has aims and objectives for Rakhine people as the first priority. We will continue working together with other ethnic groups for the sake of establishing a genuine federal union. We believe in our strength as ethnic minorities. We rely on our own people. And we believe in Rakhine people. We will fight for victory in the by-election,” said Tun Aung Kyaw from the Arakan National Party.   

Dr Aye Maung, a former Upper House representative, from the party will run for a constituency in Rakhine State.

Other ethnic parties representing the Wa, Larhu, Shan and Chin will also participate.

“During the last election, the National League for Democracy was the victorious. And the Union Solidarity and Development Party was the winner for the Shan State parliament. Ethnic parties were mostly losers. We believe this by-election will allow more checks and balances on the government if our ethnic parties win,” said Sai Lak, secretary of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy.

Translated by TTW