Jaloon Htaw – The excessive number of voters in Moulmein during Sunday’s by-election was due to the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) buying votes and bringing voters in from other townships.
According to a Thanbyuzayat resident who participated in the scheme, the USDP organized civilians and party members from the nine other Mon State townships in order to secure more votes in Moulmein.
“There would be about 100 people per township. They had to support [the USDP] in each polling station and try to mark the ballots [for the UDSP candidate],” continued that participant.
On March 30, two days before the by-election, the residents from Kyaik Htoe, Bee Linn, Tha Hton, Paung, Mudon, Thanbyuzayat, Ye and Chaung Zone townships were assembled and brought to monasteries in Moulmein, where they were given accommodation.
On “D-day,” when by-election voting commenced, four or five USDP members were positioned at each polling station, pretending to assist the voters, but actually were trying to fill out the ballots, confirmed U Ko Ko Zaw, the information officer of the National League for Democracy (NLD).
“They (the imported voters and USDP members) attempted to cast their votes. They were successful at some polling stations, but in others, they were shouted away by the polling station officers,” said U Ko Ko Zaw.
A Kwae Wam resident of Mudon Township said, “The USDP brought about 20 of our villagers in order to influence [the by-election]. They were paid 3,000 Kyat per person for their contribution.”
A member of the All Mon Regions Democracy Party (AMDP) of Chaung Zone Township, Mon State, said, “[USDP] members came from every village [to vote in the by-election]. Two people from our village did. The party provided money to everyone who went.”
Despite USDP efforts to win votes in Moulmein Township, the NLD claimed the majority.
In Moulmein constituency of Mon State, the NLD won a landslide victory with 71,480 votes, the USDP won 19,648 votes, the AMDP secured 4,824 votes, and the National Unity Party (UNP) trailed with 2,082 votes, according to statistics provided by the Moulmein NLD office.
The NLD office also stated that there are 158,321 eligible voters in Moulmein, and only 98,034 voted.