Nearly 100 locals from Chaungzone Township staged a protest yesterday in Mon State’s Mawlamyine Capital, refusing to accept the newly selected candidate for the by-election chosen by the National League for Democracy (NLD) Headquarters.
At 10 AM, on November 30, the protesters, allegedly to be the supporters of NLD Chaungzone Township branch, began marching from Yarmanya Bridge Port at Strand Rd. to NLD headquarters in Pet-tan Ward, Mawlamyine Capital, formerly known as Moulmein.
The NLD headquarters voted down the selected candidates for NLD Chaungzone Township which were to compete for the Pyithu Hluttaw constituency in Chaungzone Township during the by-election.
“We staged this protest because we are not satisfied with the candidate that the headquarters appointed. The headquarters does not respect the local party members,” said U San Kin, a NLD member who joined the protest.U San Kin continued that the NLD Chaungzone Township voted amongst three candidates. U Saw Lin Aung scored 14 votes, U Aye Win had 8 votes and U Kyaw Pe ended up with 7 votes. However, the NLD Headquarters did not accept the candidate with the most votes and instead selected the runner-up, U Aye Win. Thus, the NLD Chaungzone Township refused to embrace the newly appointed candidate.
The protesters shouted slogans including “Township decision approval is our cause. No central control is our cause”, while holding banners reading “We do not want the candidate selected by [NLD] State [level branch].”, “We want a Mon national candidate from the Mon area.”, “We want the candidate selected by the Township.”, “We do not want the candidate appointed by the State.”, and “We respect the local candidate.”
“In terms of qualifications, there is a gap between the candidate that they select and the candidate that the headquarters selected,” said U Ngwe Myint, Secretary of NLD (Mon State).
U Ngwe Myint said that only the NLD Headquarters could select the candidates, not the NLD District or Township branches.
There are 18 vacant constituencies across the country for the by-election, on April 1, 2017, and of the 18, the Chaungzone Township constituency for the Pyithu Hluttaw representative is currently vacant.