New Delhi (Mizzima) – Citing financial problems, the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, [aka] White Tiger Party, which earlier said it would contest for 15 parliamentary seats in the coming by-elections, will now contest in only five constituencies.
In the 2010 election, the party fielded candidates in Kachin State and Shan states, Irrawaddy Region, Rangoon Region, Mandalay Region, Magwe (Magway) Region and Pegu (Bago) Region.
The National Democratic Force (NDF) said it planned to contest in the by-elections constituencies where the White Tiger Party, a member of the Friends of Democracy group, cannot contest.
“They [White Tiger Party] will not contest in the mainland. Earlier we [NDF and White Tiger Party] were redundant in eight constituencies. Now, they will not contest [in the mainland], so we will contest there,” said Kyi Than, a NDF central executive committee member. The NDF plans to contest in at least 18 constituencies in the by-elections.
The White Tiger Party won the third highest number of seats in the 2010 elections, with 57 seats. Party chairman Sai Aik Paung and party leader Sai Naw Kham now hold the posts of Forestry and Mines Minister of Shan State government and Construction Minister of Shan State respectively.
Forty constituencies are up for grabs in the coming by-elections. In June 2010, 11 political parties, including ethnic parties, formed the Friends of Democracy alliance to cooperate in competing with the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and National Unity Party in the 2010 elections.
The 11 parties are the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, Rakhine Nationalities Democratic Party, Wuntharnu NLD, Chin National Party, Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party, All Mon Region Democracy Party, National Political Alliances League, National Democratic Force, Union Democratic Party, Democratic Party (Myanmar) and Democracy and Peace Party.
Many politicians believe the by-elections will be held in November. The Union Election Commission has not yet announced the date.
On June 2, USDP General-Secretary Htay Oo said the party would run candidates in all by-election constituencies, according to the Rangoon-based Myanmar Times Journal.