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Election 2015: What makes a good candidate?

With a general election slated for October or November, political parties across Burma are using this time to vet and select candidates to run in the more than one thousand constituencies up for grabs. But what criteria does a party administrator use to determine which candidate to select? Is it all about political savvy and connections? What type of personalities are preferred?

DVB spoke to the leaders of several political parties to learn what it takes for a candidate to get their party’s nomination.

Aung Moe Zaw, chairman, Democratic Party for New Society

“We set criteria based on commitment. We will choose our election candidates based on how committed they are in politics.”

Tun Tun Hein, executive committee member, National League for Democracy

“Our criteria for candidates in the elections this year are not much different from that of the last by-elections. In 2012, we focused on finding candidates who would be acceptable to the public, and we gave preference to women, younger people, ethnic nationalities and a good level of education.

Tun Aung Kyaw, Modern People’s Party

“The minimum education requirement for our candidates is 8th Grade, and we will only consider individuals who are willing to take risks to fulfil their duties within the party. We want people who are loyal, healthy and with good moral behaviour. Also our candidates must be capable of leading public opinion and serving the public’s interests.”

Kyaw Swa Soe, chairman, Myanmar Farmers’ Development Party

“Our candidates must, first, be patriotic; second, be sympathetic to those at a grassroots level and farmers; third, have good moral standing; and fourth, be kind-hearted, because a candidate without a kind heart will be worthless to the country regardless of how educated they are.”

Htay Oo, deputy-chair, Union Solidarity and Development Party

“We choose our candidates based on: how well liked and respected they are in their relevant constituencies; moral behaviour; social commitment; how close they can work with the public; and good social skills.”

Yaw Thup, chairman, Lahu National Development Party

“We prefer local candidates. We have instructed our members to nominate local men and women who have the potential to serve the public in their constituencies.”


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