Parties form interim election alliance

Mooted plans for interim elections in Burma have prompted 11 political parties to form a committee which they claim will help them to avoid the various problems that dogged last year’s campaigning.

Included in the Group of Democratic Party Friends (GDPF) is the National Democratic Force (NDF) and Union Democracy Party, whose chairman Thein Tin Aung said that representatives will hold their first meeting on 10 June.

“We formed the committee to avoid exposing the same weak points that we did in the previous elections,” he said, adding that parties with similar political ideologies overlapped in constituencies, thereby effectively wasting votes.

A more organised front, he thinks, would dent the power of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which dominates parliament after winning around 80 percent of the vote in the November 2010 elections.

Rumours of an interim vote have circulated since the appointment of more than 40 MPs to cabinet posts and advisory committees following the first session of parliament in February. Under Burmese parliamentary legislation, those seats must be replaced via a second round of votes.

No details about the interim elections have been released, and it is not yet known whether anything has been finalised. The head of the Union Election Commission, Thein Soe, said in a recent parliamentary session however that they may be held October or November this year.

The USDP-led government was officially sworn in in March this year, with the former prime minister during the rule of the State Peace and Development Council, Thein Sein, elected as Burma’s new president.

The vast majority of cabinet positions have been filled by members of the USDP, which evolved from the former junta’s so-called civilian wing, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA).

Also included in the GDPF is the Democratic Party Myanmar, Democracy and Peace Party, Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, Chin National Party, Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party, Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, United Democracy Party, Patriotic National League for Democracy and National Political Alliances League.

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