In what is shaping up to be a bellwether race for the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), more than 4,000 voters in the Mon State township cast advance votes, according to the local Union Election Sub-Commission.In advanced voting that lasted from March 22 to 31, voters chose from a slate of national and Mon ethnic parties to fill a vacant seat in the lower house of Myanmar’s parliament, the Pyithu Hluttaw.
The 4,444 advanced votes largely came from the elderly and government employees, according to U Tun Yee, the sub-commission’s chairman; “Only one vote came in from overseas. The rest were public servants, the elderly and the infirmed.”
The total for this year represents a not-unexpected drop from the 2015 general election, when 5,619 residents voted in advance. Despite mounting frustration with the NLD in Mon state over insensitivity to ethnic minority demands, the by-election has not animated the state in the way that the country’s historic 2015 election did.
Chaungzone Township is composed of 78 villages spread across the large Bilugyun Island, which sits across the Thanlwin River from the state capital Mawlamyine, formerly known as Moulmein.
The 126,225 residents eligible for the by-election voted at 62 polling stations across the island on April 1. Of a similar number registered in 2015, only 56,573 voted, according to the election sub-commission.