Htay Oo, the vice-president of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), was in Irrawaddy Division last weekend as his party hosted a dinner event.
DVB’s Nyo Mar Thet caught up with him for an exclusive interview in which the veteran politician expressed total confidence in his party’s ability to win November’s general election.
“We are 100 percent confident about winning,” he said. “Of course, we will only find out after polling. But it’s not that we gratuitously hold high expectations, it’s because we have been conducting surveys with public feedback on our policies.”
A former general in the former ruling junta, Htay Oo, a native of Irrawaddy, said that Burma’s shift towards democracy had led to the initiation of more public-focused government projects.
“We have a high probability of winning in Irrawaddy Division because we can manage many of the projects that are already in place,” he explained. “I wrote down recently on the back of my calendar a note to remind myself that while the USDP cannot fulfill everyone’s hopes, we can prove to people that we are working for them in areas such as religion, education and health, as well as transportation and the maintenance of roads.
“The public is fully aware of this. And judging by this level of awareness, we can fully expect victory.”
The USDP was first formed as the Union Solidarity and Development Association by the military junta in 1993.
In 2010 it reformed into a party— with Htay Oo as a helmsman—promptly going on to win a landslide general election, though most observers discredited the polls.
In by-elections two years later, an event marked by Aung San Suu Kyi’s debut as a candidate, the USDP won just one seat, the other 43 snapped up in emphatic style by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.
In November, the world’s attention will shift again to Burma as the country’s two political titans do battle.