Rangoon (Mizzima) – Taking no chances in what is becoming a carefully managed electoral process, authorities have sought further information from personnel associated with the Democratic Party, an organization that lists descendents of prominent democratic era politicians among its leadership.
The latest happenings prompted party Chairman Thu Wei to file a protest with the Election Commission on Monday in Naypyitaw regarding alleged intimidation tactics used by intelligence personnel while visiting the residences of Democratic Party members.
“Intelligence personnel visited the residences of our party members and asked them to provide two passport photos along with their bio-data and a personal profile. This is intimidation. They should not act like that,” Thu Wei said.
As per electoral laws, the party sent a list of 1,000 party members, the minimum required for a national party, to the Election Commission. The list was subsequently handed over to intelligence personnel who then visited the homes of the listed persons, he added.
Owing to the country’s storied heritage of political intimidation, visits from intelligence personnel are always cause for concern among opposition party members.
The submission of two passport photos and a detailed personal profile, information not required by electoral laws, prompted Thu Wei to demand the Election Commission desist in such requests.
“We have interviewed many people about joining the party and have found people very much reluctant to join political parties. Questioning by intelligence personnel will make them even more hesitant to join politics,” a domestic reporter told Mizzima.
The Democratic Party is fronted by high-profile names including the “three princesses:” Than Than Nu, daughter of former prime minister U Nu, Nay Ye Ba Swe, daughter of former prime minister Ba Swe and Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein, daughter of U Nu’s deputy Kyaw Nyein.
Meanwhile, the junta’s Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) continues to recruit new members throughout Rangoon, even waiving the prescribed membership fee of 1,000 kyats (US$1), according to Democratic Party organizers.
Critics contend the USDP is flush with funds from money converted from state coffers to the party’s predecessor, the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA).