Saturday, 14 December 2019

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USDP uses back of electoral biodata forms in campaign

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The main junta-backed party has been using the reverse side of biodata forms, used to build electoral rolls, for its campaigning in a town in Burma’s northwestern Sagaing Division, the leader of a rival party said yesterday.

depayin1The United Democratic Party (UDP) lodged a complaint with the township-level electoral commission against the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in Depayin over its use of the profiles, which legally can only be held by authorised election commissioners, UDP Chairman and Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house) constituency candidate Bo Moung said.

The party printed campaign flyers on the B-side side of the biodata forms, then redistributed them among the people, he said, adding that the complaint listed other USDP malpractices.

“These papers must be kept with the commission,” Bo Moung told Mizzima.

When Mizzima contacted the township electoral watchdog’s office, the commission secretary said: “Since there was a shortage of forms, they opened these forms outside. I’ve that they used Form No. 15 [“brief voter personal profile”] and they are USDP. I’m now contacting the USDP secretary to ascertain the details of this case.”
Representatives of the USDP were unavailable for comment.

Among a stream of complaints levelled at the USDP in the run-up to today’s elections, Bo Maung added that ward and village-tract election commissions had ordered heads of 10-household units, rather than authorised commissioners to collect absentee votes.

There are more than 80,000 eligible voters and 101 polling stations in Depayin Township. Bo Moung of the UDP, the USDP’s Mya Than and Bo Maung from the National Unity Party are standing for this constituency seat.

In late May 2003, an anti-democracy mob that included an estimated 5,000 junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association (the precursor organisation to the USDP) members, assaulted Aung San Suu Kyi and National League for Democracy (NLD) members who were on a political field trip near Depayin. The thugs with sticks, swords and other sharp weapons beat or stabbed to death at least 70 of the NLD supporters. Suu Kyi managed to escape but was arrested at a village nearby.

The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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