Myanmar Election Commission to Curb NLD’s Campaign Strategy

Burma Election Commission to Ban Suu Kyi’s Campaign Strategy

Myanmar, Burma, The Irrawaddy, Union Election Commission, politics, National League for Democracy, NLD, Union Solidarity and Development Party, USDP, by-elections, Aung San Suu Kyi

Tin Aye, chairman of Burma’s Union Election Commission (EC), speaks during a meeting in Pathein on Monday. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — The chief of Burma’s national election commission has defended the involvement of the army in politics as necessary to prevent a military coup, while also pledging to ban campaign methods used by the main opposition party during the previous by-election.

“The military MPs make up 25 percent of Parliament. To be clear, we have them because we don’t want a coup. The military is in Parliament not because of power, but for negotiation,” said Tin Aye, chairman of the Union Election Commission (EC), during a meeting on Monday in Pathein with sub-election commissions and political parties.

“When will they leave?” added the EC chief, a former general himself, referring to the military-appointed lawmakers. “Only when democratic standards are high in the country.”

The military-drafted 2008 Constitution reserves one-quarter of Parliament seats for military-appointed MPs. Most of the remaining seats are held by the pro-military ruling party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

“For the 2015 election, I promise it will be systematic, free and fair,” he said.

Tin Aye was formerly a lieutenant-general in the Burma Army, a member of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), and a protégé of ex-junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe.

In 2010, he won a seat in the Lower House of Parliament, representing Mandalay Division’s Tada-U Township as a member of the USDP. He was nominated by President Thein Sein as chairman of the EC in 2011.

At the meeting on Monday, he said the EC in the future would only allow politicians to campaign in their own constituencies, in a move that will likely affect Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

During by-elections in 2012, the NLD contested seats in 44 of 45 constituencies up for grabs. Before the election, Suu Kyi traveled to those townships and campaigned on behalf of her party members, who won 43 of the 44 seats.

“Contestants need to say something like, ‘If you have nothing to do with my constituency, please stay away. This is my constituency and I will do my own campaign,’” Tin Aye said, adding that he would set the campaign period and zones, while also determining who would be eligible to campaign there.

He said that although the 2012 by-elections were praised by the United States and the European Union, the campaigns resembled public demonstrations. He was referring to NLD rallies that saw thousands of people in NLD T-shirts come out to show their support, often waving the party’s flag to welcome Suu Kyi.

“Those campaigns were so free that they looked rather like the ’88 uprising revisited,” he said, referring to the 1988 pro-democracy uprising against the dictatorship of Gen. Ne Win.

Phyo Min Thein, an MP from the NLD, criticized Tin Aye’s approach.

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is the leader of the NLD. As the leader of a political party, she has a right to do election campaigns in all constituencies where her party will contest seats. What U Tin Aye said is undemocratic and a ban on freedom of assembly,” he told The Irrawaddy.

But USDP lawmaker Hla Swe said he agreed with the EC chief.

“It makes more sense to campaign in your own constituency, rather than campaigning for someone else. If you campaign for others, it looks like they are incompetent,” he said. “I welcome the ban. It sounds fair.”

19 Responses to Burma Election Commission to Ban Suu Kyi’s Campaign Strategy

  1. If this happens, there will be a big mess. Suu Kyi and other politicians must keep campaigning with dignity for the real democratic reform. Suu Kyi needs support from all people. Other than that this puppet commission must try to silence the will of the people. Suu Kyi is our voice and she needs us now.

  2. Ha! And there are people who really believes that Burma is changing and marching towards true Democracy? Not with this kind of attitude from the ruling military party. Wait another fifty years. Nothing good will happen to this great country as long as the Military is in power. Just pray; only God Almighty can transform our homeland.

  3. The democratic standards will never be high as long as non-elected soldiers occupy the floor of Hlutdaw. To me the former general Yin Aye is trying to tell us that Army will retake power if they are not allowed free rides. Actually, free ride-people are cheap persons like beggars. This kind of mentality is really really low. The color is this regime is more and more visible.

  4. yes, I glad to hear about the present real political landscape in Burma.Mr Tin Aye is straight talk guy and he had been honest about it.When I was young,my dad used to tell me about the military in Burma,they believe that they have the right to be take what they want, if not they threats to coup.Do they ever respect the 60 million hard working people what they want.sickening politics and that is one reason ethnic group never laydown their arm as long as bogeyman is around. Good luck Mr Commender in chief,you are writing the new history of Burma.

  5. Ha! And there are people who really believes that Burma is changing and marching towards true Democracy? Not with this kind of attitude from the ruling military party. Wait another fifty years. Nothing good will happen to this great country as long as the Military is in power. Just pray; only God Almighty can transform our homeland.

  6. If the same rules applies to everybody it should be fine.

  7. Tin Aye looks well fed and appear to have a good life. His opinion is ridiculous. We do not worry about the coup. We are used to it. The military MPs cannot prevent a military coup. It follow the lines of loyalty, following, strategy , timing and guts. NLD does not and should not pay attention to this ridiculous audacious remark.
    Myanmar people will have to prepare for the worst. He has his instruction cut out. Very sad. Terrible times for Myanmar ahead.

  8. Classic case of doublespeak from Tin Aye. The army have the seats because they have guns – end of story.

  9. I can smell the fear of defect rom the USDP. They are going to be toast in 2015, so the tricky moves have started.

  10. Tin Aye, chairman of the Union Election Commission (EC), must resign now to achieve “the democratic standards are high” in Burma. All the members, including chairman, of Union Election Commission must not be affiliated with nor a member of any political party.

    A pro-military USDP member, former lieutenant-general in the Burma Army, a member of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), and a protégé of ex-junta chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe as chairman of EC is a sure way that is not to be democratic. Wake up, Burma!

    • Tin Aye does not need to resign from his post. We have to thank to him for telling us Army Generals secret.

      Min Aung Hlaing will coup if the elected Government was not walking with their tune. It likes watching scary movie. Isn’t it?

      25% of MPs who are military officers are actually Puppies former dictator Than Shwe’s Puppies. They are guarding for Than Shwe’s Constitution which is written for to protect THan Shwe and his family from prosecution by future elected Government.

      Today, Tin Aye has telling us there will be no true democracy and Min Aung Hlaing is current dictator. Absolute country power is in Min Aung Hlaing’s hands.

      Military is slowly revealing its secrets and we need to caution about President U Thein Sein’s democratic reform.

      We have seen Rule of Law in Burma has crawling backward in 2014.
      Beware! Army Generals have secrete plan to coup if the Elected Government refused to walk in their direction.

  11. Yes, carry on with your dirty tricks and ideas as the 2015 election is approaching. The more you became dirty, the better the chance for NLD to win the land slide victory. Remember what happened in 1990 election when you did house-arrest Daw Aung San Su Kyi. She became hugely popular due to your ill-healthy dubious dirty manner. People in Burma hate you in their mind and soul. Pyithu-Chin-Butt is your name. Such thing is created by your stupidity and still you have not learnt any bit of lesson. Keep on fooling yourself, you will see zero vote come to your historic election defeat. SHAME ON YOU.

  12. The people of Myanmar asked for Democracy. Many people from all kinds of walk died in 1988 and 1997 for democratic cause. Therefore, in 2015, 90% of the voters will stay away from casting their votes for USDP. Voting USDP is drinking our own urine. We had abandoned BSPP(Ne Win’s Party), SPDC and USDP for NLD and brand new democratic Union of Myanmar. If you are not dogs, don’t eat your own stools. If you are not stupid enough, do not cast your votes for USDP. Because USDP is a party for/of animals. Tin Aye might be trying to steal votes for USDP, the whole world is watching him and his movement.

  13. Tin Aye is not the law. He is just chairman of election commission. He cannot draw his own law like Ne Win and Than Shwe. Every politician must have the right to tell his view and belief to the citizens everywhere. Suu Kyi, the national leader, cannot be limited inside one small township. She is NLD chairwoman and she has the right o cover the whole country. Tin Aye must not try to bind Suu Kyi in order to give USDP an upper hand to win in 2015 election. Devil and evil followers must be defeated badly in 2015 for good.

  14. Tin Aye is from USDP member and a former general. Thein Sein is the same. Shwe Mann is not different. So, they all are from the same old gang called military dictators. They will try to rule in different costume. Election will be just a fake democratic election unless there is no freedom of campaign. From campaign messages and speeches, we the people are supposed to hear better ideas and visions for the future of our country. But Tin Aye is trying to curb the activities and speeches from NLD and Daw Suu. No matter what happens, we the people have heard and seen more than enough that Daw Suu cannot be contained in a small township. Her sacrifice, wisdom and love for the Union and her fellow citizens have been acknowledged throughout the Union. Unless she becomes leader of the Union, real peace and democracy may never come to our life. Three years had been gone in the hands of Thein Sein without tangible result. War and fighting keep happening in the land due to the lack of sincere willingness for real peace. Thein Sein tried to cheat us but his dirty scheme will bring him and his USDP down to lose the battle in 2015 election. I am 100% determined not to vote USDP. I will cast my vote for NLD which is the only party which can bring different ethnics and faiths to live in peace. I urge all citizens to do the same. Let us use our votes to send regime home. We can overturn the Nargis 2008 constitution with our votes. We do not need guns and bullets but our votes count.

  15. “The military MPs make up 25 percent of Parliament. To be clear, we have them because we don’t want a coup. The military is in Parliament not because of power, but for negotiation,” said Tin Aye, chairman of the Union Election Commission (EC.”


    Thank you very much for clearing air above Burmese political cloud.
    Former General is telling they will coup again for power if Burmese peoples do not give army power in government. Obviously, there will be no democracy and no freedom.

    Military MPs in Parliament are actual Than Shwe family’s guard dogs because Than Shwe’s Constitution is purposely written for to protect Than Shwe and his family from prosecution. So Military Officers who are sitting in Parliament for guarding Than Shwe and his family. They are actually Than Shwe family’s guard dogs. They should go back to where they belong and let not using by former dictator Than Shwe. They need to think with their brain.

    Military’s hidden agenda is slowly uncover and it’s warning to Burmese peoples, all opposition parties and International investors about the Generals will coup country power in future.

    The elected Government does not have power to remove or prosecute corrupted Military officers. Former dictator Than Shwe had created two rivals government in Burma. How dirty Than Shwe was?

    The General Min Aung Hlaing is not honest person and minority ethnics’ Army should not give up their weapons. Army has been taken almost all minority ethnics’ army bases and extending its strong hold in minority ethnics’ land.
    Min Aung Hlaing opposing to change Constitution is clearly he is nothing difference with former dictator Than Shwe. Min Aung Hlaing is another power monger in Military. Min Aung Hlaing won’t be given up his power easily and he will stay in power as long as he wished unless someone throws him out from power.

    There will be another popular uprising in future if Military leaders were not given up power and continuing insisting to change Than Shwe’s Constitution. Burmese peoples will go out into street again. Generals are still thinking if peoples have job and then they won’t be opposing Military ruling. How stupid Army’s generals were?

    I wished some army officers will over throw power monger General in near future for sake of Burmese peoples.

  16. That says it all.Another wannabe politician trying to bulldoze into politics.Leopards don’t change their spots,if he thinks he can fool the people by saying this is to prevent a military coup,then the people should know, right now it is a military coup and nothing less.These ‘Tatmadaw’ dickheads whether they are disguised as civilians or not are most inept since everyone can witness what a bunch of stupid thugs and thieves they are.Waging a war against unarmed civilians and outstripping the county’s wealth for personal use is not what an honorable armed forces of a country does.When I was in East Pakistan in 1971 and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had started his fight for freedom the Pakistan Army cracked down.One of the most cruel and heavily armed military in South Asia had begun to massacre the Bengali people.I had sought refuge in the Hotel Intercontinental and had heard some UN officials discussing the situation and mentioning that the Army had guns but then we know the outcome of that conflict now.Burmans should be prepared to fight for their freedom,even if it is an armed fight for freedom.After we remove the ‘Tatmadaw’ by force then there should be reckoning and accountability.The responsible should face the same fate as the Generals and Politicians in Iran after the Revolution there.They should be weeded out like Ceaucescu,Saddam Hussein,Ghaddafi and others.After which a civilian government be established which will decide that the ‘Tatmadaw’takes orders from the government and its ministers and not the other way round.The Military belongs back in the barracks.

  17. We can only regain power with weapons as Army took it with weapons. So, all people must try to have guns and bullets in their hands to shoot Tin Aye and associates. We may not allow these thugs to intimidate us with their guns and bullets. Gunmen must be fought back with guns.

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