Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pro-junta party kicks off campaign for 2010 polls in northwestern Burma

by Salai Pi Pi
Mizzima News

In the run-up to the junta's general election in 2010, a pro-regime party has launched its poll campaign in Burma's north western Chin state.

Ling Ha, organizational in-charge of the National Unity Party (NUP) of Hakha town, capital of Chin state, on Tuesday said they have begun recruiting new members as part of its campaign for the elections.

"We plan to contest the elections from all the nine townships of Chin state and have started recruiting members," Ling Ha told Mizzima over telephone, adding that he, personally, is gearing up to contest from a constituency in Kanpalat Township, southern Chin state.

Ling Ha said he and his party believe that the junta's roadmap, which has reached the fourth stage since it was chalked out in 2003, is the only way out from the political deadlock and humanitarian crisis.

The NUP is a political party formed in 1990 by members of former military dictator Newin's Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP). NUP, while not representing the current batch of military generals, is largely endorsed by the junta.

Ling Ha said junta authorities had not imposed any restrictions on them while campaigning.

"We are into all campaigning within the legal framework," he said, adding the 1990 election law allows parties to assemble less than 50 people during campaign but prohibits parties from using loudspeakers and disallows campaign in public places.

In Burma's last election in 1990, the NUP got one seat in Chin state out of a total of 13 seats. Other parties that had contested the election include the National League for Democracy, Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD), Zomi National Congress (ZNC), Mara People's Party (MPP) and Mro or Khami National Solidarity Organisation (MKNSO).

While the junta in 1992 abolished all other political parties in the state, the NUP and MKNSO continue to function as legal parties. The NLD, though it was not abolished, is banned from opening their offices.

According to Ling Ha, political parties that have been abolished by the ruling junta are unlikely to be allowed to contest in the ensuing elections.

He said, the likely candidates so far in Chin state includes the MKNSO, a party that failed to garner a parliamentary seat in Chin state in the last election, and an independent candidate Dr. Hmu Thang, who individually attended the junta's national convention.

The MKNSO, a party that also contested from the Arakan state's Kyaukdaw constituency in the 1990 election and won a parliamentary seat, also sent a representative to the junta's national convention.

Meanwhile, a leader in exile of the Mara People's Party told Mizzima that Mara people in Chin state are likely to form yet another party to contest the election.

The veteran politician, who requested not to be named said, "I heard that the Mara people are very interested in the 2010 election. They held a meeting and had sent a delegate to study the nature of the election."

However, he said, things would only be clearer once the junta announces the election law.

Edited Mungpi

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