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Burma’s political parties, including Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) and the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), today wrapped up their campaigns for this weekend’s by-election in 19 constituencies across the country.
The NLD, which is running candidates in all but one of the constituencies up for grabs on Saturday, rallied their supporters during a last-minute surge in Pegu [Bago] Division, where their candidate San San Myint hopes and expects to win the vacant Upper House seat in Kyauktaga and Nyaunglebin townships.
Hundreds of NLD members and party officials from across the division turned out in support of their candidate at rallies this week.
“There are five other parties competing for the Upper House seat, but I am the most recognised candidate in the competition,” said San San Myint. “Residents in every village we went to expressed their support for the NLD. People love and respect Daw Suu [Aung San Suu Kyi], just as she loves and respects them too. That’s why I am confident I will win.”
Incumbent Pegu Division Chief Minister Win Thein, himself a former NLD MP, also appeared at a by-election campaign event, voicing support for San San Myint.
The USDP’s Central Committee Chairperson Than Htay joined the campaign trail in Chin State as the former ruling party seeks to win back ground from its humiliating loss at the 2015 polls.
Speaking to DVB, an executive party member for Chin State, Khin Maung Than, said that Than Htay travelled to the region on 21 March to help with the USDP’s campaign to win an Upper House seat in Htantalan Constituency 3, which was left vacant when elected MP Henry Van Thio was appointed vice-president.
Prior to rallies in Chin State, Than Htay had turned out in support of party candidates in Shan and Karenni states.
Competing for the Htantalan constituency seat against the USDP are the NLD and Chin National Democratic Party.
And in Arakan State, Aye Maung, the chairman of the Arakan National Party (ANP), who is contesting a Lower House seat in Ann Township, said that his party must win this constituency in order to be able to dominate the regional parliament.
“The ANP’s ultimate aim is to form the regional government and dominate the Arakanese legislature. This is our just war. We must win, because we represent the national ambitions of all Arakanese people,” said Aye Maung.
The ANP chairman is looking to bounce back after losing the election for a regional parliamentary seat in Manaung Township in 2015.
Reporting by Arkar, Min Ye Sitt Naing and Nay Lin Htike