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USDP wins Chaungzon seat by over 7,000 votes

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A Mon State seat won by the National League for Democracy (NLD) in the 2015 general election switched hands to the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in the latest by-election poll.

The USDP took the Chaungzon Township Pyithu Hluttaw seat with 19,667 votes, compared to the 12,636 ballots cast for the NLD on April 1, according to the election sub-commission.

In the run-up to the vote, the township was mired in controversy over a proposed bridge name, with parliament pushing for calling it the Bogyoke Aung San Bridge despite objections raised by the local ethnic community.

In 2015, the township’s Pyithu Hluttaw seat was won by the NLD’s Daw Khin Htay Kywe with just over 23,000 votes. It became vacant after she was appointed to the Constitutional Tribunal.

USDP candidate U Aung Kyi Thein won the Chaungzon township Pyithu Hluttaw seat. (Photo: Thanlwin Times)
USDP candidate U Aung Kyi Thein won the Chaungzon township Pyithu Hluttaw seat. (Photo: Thanlwin Times)

Five candidates contested the spot for the by-election, including the USDP and NLD. The All Mon Regions Democracy Party (AMDP) netted 10,856 votes, the National Unity Party (NUP) took 2,013 votes and the Mon National Party (MNP) took 1,992 votes.

Winning USDP candidate U Aung Kyi Thein vowed to work for the benefit of the local people, but did not express a specific reform agenda.

Voter Daw Maw Li Win said she hopes the new representative can help improve the conditions for local farmers.

“Every year the famers are facing difficulties due to flooding. So I voted for the candidate that could best implement a plan to help address the villagers’ needs,” she said.

The turnout for the Chaungzon Township by-election dropped notably from 2015, which was already well below the national average. Of the 126,225 eligible voters in the township, only around 47,000 cast ballots on April 1, according to the Chaungzon Township election sub-commission.

Chaungzon Township had a total of 127,249 eligible voters in 2015, but on November 8 only 56,579 people, or 44%, cast ballots. Nationally, the average voter turnout was over 69%.

This article was originally translated and edited by BNI: https://goo.gl/R4TIIi

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