Authorities ask NMSP’s permission for advanced polling in party areas

October 22nd, 2010

A photo of one village in Tavoy District

Asah, Khatter Non: Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) members from Kaleinaung Sub-Township, in Yephyu Township, Tavoy District have asked the New Mon State Party (NMSP) for permission to hold advanced voting in party-controlled territory in Tavoy District.

According to a NMSP member, permission for the advanced polls was asked on October 20th; the party has not yet responded with its answer. Should the party grant the Burmese government permission to open poll stations in its territory, an advance election for Tavoy District will be held on November 3rd of this year, four days before the official Burmese national elections on November 7th.

“If the NMSP accepts what they [the TPDC] discussed, they will go to build two polling stations. And also the Township Peace and Development Council from Sub Kaleinaung Township said that if they get permission they will allow a phantom vote [ people over 18 without IDs can vote],” he explained.

NMSP-controlled territory in Tavoy District was previously excluded from the Burmese Election Commission’s  list of areas given permission to participate in the upcoming elections, which was released on September 16th of this year. The region was presumably considered too “unstable” to be suitable for elections; under the Election Commission’s laws nos. 99-103/2010, areas deemed dangerous or unstable may be prohibited from participating in the elections.

The NMSP has officially refused to participate in the 2010 elections since April of this year, and was recently reported to have instigated a campaign in Mudon Township which encouraged Mon State citizens to boycott the 2010 elections.

According to the Secretary of the Mon Relief and Development Committee (MRDC), which oversees Tavoy Resettlement Site in the region, NMSP-controlled territory in Tavoy District contains ten villages and 3 thousand people.

The National Unity Party, the All Mon Regions Democracy Party, the National Democratic Force, the Union Solidarity and Development Party,  and the Democratic Party (Myanmar) have already been contesting in non-NMSP controlled areas of Yepbyu Township; should the party grant permission for the elections to be held in party-controlled areas of Tavoy District, these parties will be the five included on the ballots distributed in the Tavoy District advance elections.

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