By Ahunt Phone Myat
Three elected representatives of Rakhine (Arakan) Nationalities Development Party have been disqualified by a tribunal of Union Election Commission after rival Union Solidarity and Development Party’s representatives filed complaints against them.
Kyaw Htun Aung of National Parliament, Aung Kyaw Zan of People’s Parliament and Maung Kyaw Thein of State Parliament, all from Pauktaw township, Arakan State in western Burma, were accused by USDP representatives of malpractice in the elections.
The UEC on July 6 ruled to disqualify the RNDP representatives, and ordered them to pay compensation of 1.5 million Kyat [1500 US$] each to the USDP representatives; for attacking previous military government and the USDP in their election campaigns last year, RNDP’s representative for nearby Myebon township Pe Than said.
“The Commission emphasised on allegations by the USDP that our representatives had slandered their party and defamed the government during election campaigns”.
“[The USDP] alleged that our representatives in their election campaigns defamed the government by saying that it killed students and monks in the 1988 uprisings and that the USDP is controlled by the generals behind the scene, as well as making claims that the RNDP was looking to establish an Arakanese Republic.”
The RNDP representatives are also required to pay guarantee of additional 1 million Kyat if they want to appeal the ruling. But Pe Than is not optimistic about the chance of winning.
“There is little chance of them winning the appeal since they will have to make it at the same tribunal.”
“However, we will defend our representatives under legal procedures with our lawyers and also will raise this matter to government organisations concerned.”
He also criticised the UEC’s decision as denying the will of the people who voted for the RNDP and urged the electoral body to take this into consideration.
“The people wholeheartedly supported us and we believe in their strength and see the truth [in their support.]”
The RNDP fielded 44 candidates in 2010 elections and won 35 parliamentary seats. Nine of their winners were contested by USDP representatives and six of them won the cases.