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Shan State by-election goes ahead despite bombings

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Despite recent bomb blasts in northern Shan State – which some people see as a threat to holding the by-election – the National League for Democracy (NLD) of Shan State said voting would proceed as scheduled on Sunday.

Troops of the Shan State Army-North Photo: SSAThe Shan State Army-North and a government peace delegation led by Minister Aung Min have signed a cease-fire agreement, but residents said there is still sporadic fighting in the area of constituency No. 3, where a by-election is scheduled to be held.

Union Election Commission member Tha Oo told Shan State electoral candidates that by-elections would be held for Shan State Upper House constituency 3 that consists of Lashio, Hseni (Theinni), Kunlong, Mong Yai and Tangyang townships, Sai Myint Maung, an NLD candidate from Lashio, told Mizzima.

The Hseni-Kunlong bridge and a bridge on the Hseni-Muse Road were bombed on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Some residents saw the blasts as a threat designed to discourage people who planned to vote.

“There were bomb blasts, so we have doubts that people, especially people from villages, will come to the polling stations,” Sai Myint Maung said. “Some people think that the bomb blasts were intended to try to threaten people to stop the by-elections.”
Who carried out the bridge bombings and why is unknown.
Five parties will contest for the Upper House seat for constituency No. 3 in northern Shan State. The competition may be stiff, according to Sai Myint Maung.
“In Hseni and Mai Yai, the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party [SNDP] is popular. In Kunlong Township, the Union Solidarity and Development Party [USDP] is strong,” said Sai Mhint Maung.

“But, there are many Kokang people. So, the Kokang party, White Tiger (SNDP) and USDP will lead the competition. In Tangyang, there are Wa people. There are various races in downtown. When Amay Suu [Aung San Suu Kyi] came here, the Wa people said they preferred a truly democratic party. They said they would rely on Amay Suu,” he said.
Five parties are competing for the Upper House seat: the NLD, USDP, SNDP, Lahu National Development Party and Kokang Democracy and Unity Party.
Meanwhile, the Union Election Commission announced on March 23 that by-elections in Bhamo, Mogaung and Hpakant townships in Kachin State have been postponed because of a lack of security in the area.
Last Updated ( Friday, 30 March 2012 19:29 )  

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