New challenger for Suu Kyi readies for Myanmar elections – postponement of polls rejected

Myanmar has no intention to postpone the next general election scheduled for November 8 while a new challenger of the ruling order appeared on the scene.

A delay was proposed by opposition parties as campaigning came to a halt in Yangon on September 21. Authorities had imposed a citywide lockdown as the number of coronavirus infections started surging again, forcing the majority of the five million residents of Myanmar’s largest city to stay at home.

“We don’t have a plan to postpone the election for the reason of Covid-19,” Myint Naing, a election commission official told Reuters, adding that the number of polling stations would instead be increased from 40,000 to 50,000 in order to avoid overcrowding, while staff would be wearing protective gear.

As of September 22, Myanmar had 6,151 total Covid-19 infections, of which 1,445 recovered. The number of deaths stood at 98.

The upcoming general election is widely seen as Myanmar’s ultimate test of democracy, with state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s the National League for Democracy (NLD) tipped for a landslide victory despite came repeatedly under fire from some opposition parties for her controversial handling of the Rohingya minority crisis.

New female challenger for The Lady

However, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate – known simply as “The Lady” after the 2011 Luc Besson movie – is also facing another challenge. A female member of parliament, Thet Thet Khine, has started campaigning against Suu Kyi and the NLD which Khine calls a “chaotic and autocratic” party.

Khine is a former NLD member who has been ousted from the party in 2019 for what she says was a rebuff for “speaking her mind.” He since founded her own party, the People’s Pioneer Party (PPP).

She told AFP that in her view the NLD was “no longer a solution for the country.” Its autocratic character led to a situation where loyalty was valued over competence, and that there was a culture of micro-management and an overriding fear of upsetting Suu Kyi who “is making all the decisions.”

Adding to it, there was also widespread disillusionment with the NLD in many ethnic minority areas, Khine said.

As for her party programme, Khine said the focus was on creating more jobs, providing higher wages and lowering taxes, although she gave few details about how this would be financed. She also wanted to bridge the rift between the civilian government and military and end the latter’s mismanagement in many parts of the economy, she said, without elaborating.

The party is relatively young with an average candidate age of 46. It seems to be targeting a broad demographic, presenting Myanmar’s first openly gay candidate, one Muslim nominee and one hardline Buddhist known for his anti-Islamic attitude.



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Myanmar has no intention to postpone the next general election scheduled for November 8 while a new challenger of the ruling order appeared on the scene. A delay was proposed by opposition parties as campaigning came to a halt in Yangon on September 21. Authorities had imposed a citywide lockdown as the number of coronavirus infections started surging again, forcing the majority of the five million residents of Myanmar's largest city to stay at home. "We don't have a plan to postpone the election for the reason of Covid-19," Myint Naing, a election commission official told Reuters, adding that the...

Myanmar has no intention to postpone the next general election scheduled for November 8 while a new challenger of the ruling order appeared on the scene.

A delay was proposed by opposition parties as campaigning came to a halt in Yangon on September 21. Authorities had imposed a citywide lockdown as the number of coronavirus infections started surging again, forcing the majority of the five million residents of Myanmar’s largest city to stay at home.

“We don’t have a plan to postpone the election for the reason of Covid-19,” Myint Naing, a election commission official told Reuters, adding that the number of polling stations would instead be increased from 40,000 to 50,000 in order to avoid overcrowding, while staff would be wearing protective gear.

As of September 22, Myanmar had 6,151 total Covid-19 infections, of which 1,445 recovered. The number of deaths stood at 98.

The upcoming general election is widely seen as Myanmar’s ultimate test of democracy, with state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s the National League for Democracy (NLD) tipped for a landslide victory despite came repeatedly under fire from some opposition parties for her controversial handling of the Rohingya minority crisis.

New female challenger for The Lady

However, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate – known simply as “The Lady” after the 2011 Luc Besson movie – is also facing another challenge. A female member of parliament, Thet Thet Khine, has started campaigning against Suu Kyi and the NLD which Khine calls a “chaotic and autocratic” party.

Khine is a former NLD member who has been ousted from the party in 2019 for what she says was a rebuff for “speaking her mind.” He since founded her own party, the People’s Pioneer Party (PPP).

She told AFP that in her view the NLD was “no longer a solution for the country.” Its autocratic character led to a situation where loyalty was valued over competence, and that there was a culture of micro-management and an overriding fear of upsetting Suu Kyi who “is making all the decisions.”

Adding to it, there was also widespread disillusionment with the NLD in many ethnic minority areas, Khine said.

As for her party programme, Khine said the focus was on creating more jobs, providing higher wages and lowering taxes, although she gave few details about how this would be financed. She also wanted to bridge the rift between the civilian government and military and end the latter’s mismanagement in many parts of the economy, she said, without elaborating.

The party is relatively young with an average candidate age of 46. It seems to be targeting a broad demographic, presenting Myanmar’s first openly gay candidate, one Muslim nominee and one hardline Buddhist known for his anti-Islamic attitude.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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