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The Democratic Party-Myanmar (DPM) says is looking to field some 60 candidates in the November general election. Chairman Thu Wai will run in Rangoon’s Sanchaung constituency, while party secretaries Daw Than Than Nu and Daw Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein will contest Rangoon’s Kyauktada and Pegu’s Gyobingauk townships, respectively.
DVB spoke recently with DPM Chairman Thu Wai about his party’s aspirations and how he envisages the political landscape in post-election Burma.
Q: The election date is 8 November. Is the DPM ready?
A: Our party has no offices in ethnic states, only in only six of the seven divisions, with Magwe being the exception. We have instructed our members in these regions to nominate candidates based on criteria such as: their commitment to the party’s policies; objectives; credibility within their local population; and being able to afford the expenses of participating in an election. So far, we have chosen about 60 candidates.
Q: What are the major challenges faced by medium-sized political parties such as yours? We have heard that DPM is trying to raise funds for its electoral bid. What are the other challenges on top of the financial issue?
A: The biggest challenge for us is a shortage of funds; that’s why we have to seek donations from elsewhere. However, we will absolutely not allow the donors to interfere with our political objectives. Other than that, there are no challenges.
Q: Both the Union Election Commission and President Thein Sein have pledge to ensure free and fair elections. Nonetheless, preliminary voter lists appear to contain some major irregularities. Do we have an environment in Burma that can allow free and elections to take place?
A: Burma is not exactly a peaceful or stable country – we still have civil wars going on. Under these circumstances, free and fair polls can never prevail. For example, local populations in remote villages have to follow the instructions of armed groups. And even in urban areas – where there are no armed groups – we saw in the 2010 elections how the [junta] manipulated advance votes.
The elections are related to power, privilege and position. Those with a lust for power will do unfair things one way or another to win.
Q: In 2010, the DPM only won three seats. What is your expectation for this year’s election? How hopeful are you personally that you can become an elected MP?
A: We will try our best, but can’t take anything for granted. I am running in Sanchaung Township, which is an area with very high political awareness, so I will have to make a real effort.
Q: As a veteran politician, how much change do you expect to see in post-2015 election Burma?
A: The political environment right now in Burma is very murky. We are speculating that no party will win enough seats to form a government, and so we may end up with a coalition government.
If trustworthy individuals and political parties are among those who win seats, then a bright future beckons for our country. I would like to assume we are moving to a brighter future – I remain positive.