Shwe Mann, the former Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) chairman and current house speaker, has spoken out against the “abuse of religion” for political gain.
Campaigning on Saturday in his native town of Phyu in Pegu [Bago] Division, Shwe Mann responded to the media’s questions regarding the use of religion in political campaigns.
“In my opinion, I absolutely resent the abuse of religion in politics – it is unacceptable under both the constitution and electoral laws. I cannot accept any party or organisation exploiting religion for their way into the political arena,” Shwe Mann said.
He added that the USDP has no policy to strategically exploit religion.
“The USDP has no such policy for these activities and committing these activities against party policy should be regarded as not only disloyal but also disrespectful to the law.
“One cannot only talk of being loyal to one’s own party – loyalty means truth, and any party or organisation must follow their own policies and guidelines,” he said.
When asked to comment about the USDP’s official Facebook page omitting reports about his campaign rallies, Shwe Man said, “It is up to officials in the party to decide whether they post reports of my campaigns, but that isn’t a matter for me because the people already understand and are fully aware of my situation.
“With the full confidence of the public, I don’t think being omitted from the news should matter.”
Shwe Mann has been on the campaign trail in 35 villages in Phyu Township. Also fielding candidates in the area are: opposition party National League for Democracy, National Democratic Force, National Unity Party, and independent candidates including President Thein Sein’s former personal assistant, Ko Ko Kyaw.
Read more about Shwe Mann here.
Read the full coverage of the 2015 election.