Burma’s Union Election Committee (UEC) said it canceled polling for the 2020 general election in over two-thirds of Paletwa Township due to hostilities between Tatmadaw and Arakan Army (AA).
But Soe Htet, spokesperson and Minister of Development, Electricity and Industry for Chin State, says the election was stopped in 78.43 percent of the township despite there’s no fighting in 75 percent of it.
“It’s unlikely the election will be held in Paletwa Township,” he explained, even though “some areas are peaceful.” The minister told Khonumthung News after this information was reported to the Union government some criticized him.
“I believe that the Union Election Commission will review its decision whether to hold the election in Paletwa and Ann townships.”
Many are angry after the UEC announced on October 16 that voting would be canceled in many constituencies across the country where there’s no conflict. One example is Mong Kung Township, located in Shan State.
Paletwa Township has 102 village-tracts. Constituency-1 comprises 45 village-tracts and in Constituency-2 there are 57. Although AA maintains troops in 22 village-tracts, Soe Htet said polling could be safely conducted in 80 village-tracts.
Chin National League for Democracy candidate Zarni also told Khonumthung News there are stable areas where the election could take place. “If the election commission builds polling stations in safe areas, our people will not lose their right to representation.” With the election less than two weeks away, he wants the UEC to announce the locations where voting will happen.
Saw Mya, with the Khumi Affairs Coordination Council, also thinks polling can happen in some regions. “Even though it is not possible in all the districts of Paletwa Township, it can occur in many areas…I believe that the Burma Army has been deployed in many parts of Paletwa to provide security.”
Twenty-four candidates from six parties are contesting the election in Paletwa Township.