A lack of campaign funding led the Zomi Congress for Democracy (ZCD) to lose much of its stronghold in northern Chin State to the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma’s general election, the party’s secretary has concluded.
The ZCD ran for 10 parliamentary seats, including nine in Tedim and Tonzang townships in Chin State and in Kalay Township in Sagaing Region.
The party won two seats in Tonzang in the November 8 vote: Cing Ngaik Mang won a Lower House seat and Pau Lum Ming Thang won a state parliament seat. The rest went to the NLD.
“The main reason is financial weakness. We do not have enough financial sources,” ZCD secretary Pu Gin Kam Liang told Khonumthung News.
The NLD, by contrast, he alleged, “has enough money” to expand its authority and presence throughout the area.
“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her party have influence over local people,” he said, referring to the NLD’s de-facto leader, Burma’s State Counsellor.
The ZCD had previously won six seats in Tedim and Tonzang in Burma’s 2015 election.
The decrease in representation by ethnic parties following the 2020 election will take its toll on ethnic communities, Pu Gin Kam Liang said.
“Ethnic parties and political parties from central Burma have different party platforms. Ethnic parliamentarians in the NLD have to follow the policies of their party, so they do not speak much about ethnic issues,” he explained, adding, “our ethnic Chin people will suffer.”
The NLD was declared the winner of the election overall, claiming 396 out of 498 contested parliamentary seats throughout the country.
Critics have pointed to Burma’s first-past-the-post voting system and the Union Election Commission’s cancelation of voting in hundreds of village tracts—largely in ethnic states—as contributing to the electoral losses suffered by ethnic political parties.