Tax charges bar opposition runner

A member of the opposition Democratic Party (DP) cannot run in elections because of tax irregularities stemming from work he did several years ago.

Hla Myint has become one of a number of candidates who have fallen victim to Burma’s junta-appointed Election Commission (EC), which yesterday announced the list of applicants who are not eligible to compete in the 7 November polls.

“The Commission issued a [statement] explaining why he was rejected – for not paying tax when he was working overseas [as a sailor] on a ship,” said DP chairman, Thu Wei, adding that the party had 47 candidates left who are permitted to run.

Another prominent opposition party, the National Democratic Force (NDF), said that two from its 164-strong candidate list submitted for vetting by the EC had been rejected “due to their national identification”, according to NDF chairman Dr Than Nyein. He did not elaborate on the details, but under strict election laws candidates must be born of Burmese parents.

“So far, we are sure two of our candidates have been rejected but we don’t know whether there will be more,” he added.

Two candidates for the pro-junta National Unity Party (NUP) were rejected, also on the grounds of national identity, and an appeal is now being lodged by the party.

“[The two] were rejected because they didn’t pass the qualification that a parliamentary candidate should be born from parents who are both Burmese citizens,” said spokesperson Han Shwe. “We have submitted the appeal but we still don’t know whether they will be accepted or not.”

The NUP, which came second in Burma’s last elections in 1990, is fielding close to 1000 candidates, while the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which is headed by Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein and has been widely tipped to win the polls, will also field around 1000 candidates.

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