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Seemingly undeterred by a formal complaint launched against him for illegal campaigning, Hla Htay Win, a Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) candidate contesting a Lower House seat in Zayarthiri Township in Naypyidaw, met with local constituents on Sunday. The retired army general pledged to improve transportation and electricity access, as well as prioritising job creation in the community.
Hla Htay Win, who retired from his military post to contest the national polls, was the subject of a formal complaint made by the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) earlier in the month. NLD Lower House MP Min Thu announced his party was making the complaint on the grounds of electioneering – before the official campaign period had begun.
“Retired general Hla Htay Win on 29 August escorted doctors and medical staff from the 1,000-bed military hospital to the village of Kyaukchat in Zayarthiri Township to provide eye surgery services for some residents,” Min Thu told DVB.
“While it was a good deed, we can assume it was meant as a campaign ploy.”
The complaint to the Union Election Commission came off the back of NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi attending party rallies in Shan State, where crowds greeted The Lady decked out in NLD shirts, scarves and hats.
Speaking to crowds in Hopone, in southern Shan State, Suu Kyi pledged to convene a ‘Second Panglong Conference’ and reiterated her party’s support for a federal union. Despite the criticism leveled at USDP candidates, the NLD rallies, held before the official commencement of the election campaign period on 8 September, were labeled ‘Voter Education Tours’.
Hla Htay Win is hoping to emulate Shwe Mann, his predecessor as a USDP candidate in the 2010 election, who won the Lower House seat for Zayarthiri with 60,503 votes, over his nearest rival, Chit Sein of the National Unity Party, with just 2,253 ballots.
Read more about the 2015 election here.