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Aung Myint, a member of the Union Election Commission, told a session of Parliament’s Upper House on Monday that a by-election would be held sometime in 2018 to fill eight vacant seats in legislatures at the state, regional and national level.
He was speaking to lawmakers in response to a question from an MP representing constituency No. 3 in Rakhine State, who asked whether there were plans afoot to fill an empty seat representing Rathedaung Township’s constituency No. 2 in the state legislature.
“We will announce [later] the exact date that the next poll will be held. We still need to consult with other relevant organisations,” Aung Myint said. “We need to file voters’ lists and start accepting applications from the potential candidates. The by-election is going to be held in 2018. We are making preparations for that.”
Speaking to DVB earlier this month, Aung Myint had indicated that a by-election was expected this year. At the time, he said seven seats would be up for grabs.
Burma’s most recent by-election was held just last year, on 1 April. Of the 19 seats put to a vote in that poll, 10 were won by the ruling National League for Democracy. The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy tallied six, and the Union Solidarity and Development Party, the Arakan National Party and All Nationalities Democracy Party took one seat each.
In addition to the Rathedaung state-level constituency in play for the vote later this year, there are five other state or regional vacant seats to be filled: constituency Nos. 1 in the townships of Thabeikkyin, Mandalay Region, Matupi, Chin State and Oktwin, Bago Region, as well as constituency Nos. 2 in Tamu Township, Sagaing Region, and Minbu Township, Magwe Region.
In the Union Parliament’s Lower House, seats for the townships of Kanpetlet, Chin State, and Laikha, Shan State, are also scheduled to be filled in the by-election.