Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Phalon Sawaw Democratic party candidate Saw Win has been nominated to contest in the by-election in the Zabu Thiri Township constituency in Mandalay Region. The seat was won by President Thein Sein in the general election in 2010 and then vacated when he was elected as president.
The ethnic alliance group of 10 political parties will field about 40 candidates in the by-election that is likely to be held in November this year.
Candidate Saw Win, 48, said that although he was among those nominated to run, his party doesn’t want a head-on collision with other ethnic parties. Saw Win contested in the Rangoon Region Kyauktada Township constituency for a Lower House seat but lost in the general election. The finalization of fielding candidates would be made after competing with other candidates in his party, he said.
A party Peace Committee made up of MP Nan Say Awa, party chairman Saw Thein Aung, and Christian and Buddhist priests has sent a letter to President Thein Sein urging him to start a dialogue with ethnic Karen armed groups.
Chief minister of Karen State Zaw Min reportedly told state legislators on May 25 not to talk with exile media, according to a source with close connections to the Phalon Sawaw party.
“The chief minister put pressure on the party. He doesn’t like the Phalon Sawaw party to engage in this peace movement. He told the party not to do this and threatened that the party would suffer for it,” the source told Mizzima.
State government ministers were scheduled to be assigned work three months after the state government took power, but they have yet to receive any authority, he said.
The Karen State government has nine ministries. Two ministries are held by the Phalon Sawaw; the Karen People’s Party got one ministry; the Karen State Democracy and Development Party got one ministry; and the All Mon Region Democracy Party got one ministry. The remaining ministries are held by the USDP party and military-appointed MPs.
The by-election working committee of Friends of Democracy consists of the National Democratic Force (NDF), Democracy and Peace Party, Democratic Myanmar, Union Democracy Party, and ethnic political parties of Karen, Shan, Mon, Chin and Rakhine, totaling 10 political parties.
Shan Nationality Democracy Party (SNDP) central executive committee member Saw Than Myint said that the parties in the alliance group submitted candidates for 40 constituencies on Tuesday.
“We will field 15 candidates in total in about 40 constituencies. We formed the alliance group to get people’s trust and reliance and to introduce national issues. We have a plan to contest across the country in the 2015 general election, in all states and regions,” he told Mizzima.
The NDF party will contest in at least 20 constituencies and SNDP party will contest in 15 constituencies in Rangoon, Mandalay, Bago and Irrawaddy regions. Other parties in the alliance group will contest at least one constituency in this by-election, sources said.
Meanwhile, former NDF party leader Thein Nyunt has submitted an application to register a party in the name of the “New National Democracy Party.”
USDP general secretary Htay Oo said in Naypyitaw on June 2 that the party would contest in all 45 constituencies in the by-election.