The National League for Democracy (NLD) is facing criticism from the public in Chin State for not prioritizing women and youth in selecting the party’s candidates for the upcoming 2020 general election.
There are 18 constituencies in nine townships in Chin State.
This includes nine representatives for the Lower House, nine for the Upper House, and 39 for the state parliament. The NLD will contest the election in all of the constituencies and selected its candidates on June 15.
Iang Tial, is among those who applied for NLD candidacy but was not accepted.
She criticized the party for stating in policy that it would place an emphasis on selecting women and youth if they met the qualifications to be a candidate, but in practice not adhering to these guidelines.
“Our party leaders frequently say, ‘don’t select the person who is favored by the township Election Commission. Select the person who is loved by the working class people and the masses,’” she told Khonumthung News.
“Our leaders also said that if electoral candidates have the same qualifications, we have to prioritize the selection of women and youth candidates. In practice, nobody cares about it.”
In Hakha Township, the NLD selected Dr. Aye Aye Ngun and Pu Ngun Vung as candidates the Upper House, Pu Tial Ling for the Lower House, and Zo Bwi and Shwe Htee O for the Chin State parliament.
Zo Bwi is the acting speaker of the Chin State parliament and Shwe Htee O is serving as Chin State’s transportation minister.
Jacob Thang applied to be an electoral candidate in Thantlang Township but was not selected.
“They did not follow the selection guidelines of the NLD party. They selected their favorite people. I am not very satisfied with it,” he said.
In Thantlang, the NLD party selected acting Vice President Pu Henry Van Thio for the Upper House, Pu C. Za Cung for the Lower House, and Pu Chan Ham and Pi Ni Sui Lian as electoral candidates for the Chin State parliament.
Lian Tuan, who is working with the Chin Natural Resource Watch Group, said that the NLD in Chin State consistently fails to give youth opportunities and that those steering the party are mainly men.
“From the perspective of a young person, Zo Bwi and the chief minister of Chin State should give an opportunity for youth,” he said. “They are dignified people.
They should be steering people. They should control the situation outside of the ring. Now we are out of control.”
Lian Tuan also applied to be an electoral candidate of the NLD for Tedim Township but he was not selected.
In Tedim, the NLD party selected Pu Hang Khan Lian and Pu Thang Do Cin as electoral candidates for the Upper House, Pi Piang Suan Mung for the Lower House, Pu Thang Tuan Pau and Pu Mang Hin Dal as candidates for the state parliament.
Pu Mang Hin Dal is the acting agriculture, livestock and forest minister in the Chin State government.
Five elders and the township executive committee of the NLD selected the candidates in each township and sent the list of the selected candidates to the NLD’s party headquarters.