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Election authority accused of bias

Burma’s supreme election authority is ignoring complaints about a pro-junta party that continues to campaign beyond the set deadline, an opposition party has said.

A candidate for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which is led by Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein, was allegedly seen canvassing in several wards in Arakan state capital Sittwe in recent days.

The opposition Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) said it had filed a complaint to the Election Commission (EC), which was hand-picked by the junta, who dismissed the claims.

“We went to the Election Commission and told them what the USDP was doing. They said they don’t allow such a thing for any party,” said Dr Aye Maung, who is competing for the RNDP in Sittwe.

The USDP candidate, who Dr Aye Maung claims was seen campaigning in Sittwe’s Min Gan ward and Ywar Gyi (North) Ward beyond 1 November, was also allegedly helped by local government officials.

He said his party also obtained an invitation for another campaign by the USDP in Maw Leik ward, scheduled for 7pm on 4 November, and demanded the EC block it.

“We take it the Arakanese public will consider the Election Commission to be biased for treating parties differently if they don’t stop [the USDP’s] activities,” said Dr Aye Maung.

“We would like to warn that if the EC fails to take action on this and put a stop to it, we will release a statement to domestic and international media and our allied parties.”

The RNDP is the only outwardly opposition party that hails from Arakan state, where it faces tough competition from the USDP. The pro-junta juggernaut is fielding 1,112 candidates across the country, while the RNDP has only 44.


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