Ethnic parties in Christian areas fear they are disadvantaged


Thiri Mingala Hill (Taunggwe) Pagoda in Loikaw, Kayah State. Photo: sarthit medhasith Suksumret/panoramio

Ethnic parties in Myanmar's four Christian dominated regions are worried that a lack of resources to compete with major parties and the risk of vote-splitting may affect their chances of winning seats in the looming 8 November election, UCA News reported on 2 November.

For minorities in a country with 135 recognized ethnic groups, the election represents a major opportunity. Two-thirds of the 93 registered political parties represent minority groups. Myanmar has seven ethnicity-based states, four of which have sizable Christian populations.

Kuh Eugene, who is running for state parliament in eastern Myanmar's Kayah state, said his relatively small Kayan National Party can't compete financially with the likes of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) or the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD).

He said he was worried that transportation difficulties to and from remote villages will see ethnic parties lose votes.

Ethnic minority groups have already raised concerns after authorities cancelled the vote in 400 villages in Kachin and Karen states, due to security reasons. The loss of voting privileges in these areas could hurt many ethnic parties on Election Day the report said.

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