The Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) agreed to allow the Election Commission to set up polling stations in its territories for the 2020 general election.
According to SSPP/SSA estimates, there are about 200,000 citizens eligible to vote in its controlled area in Mong Hsu, Tang Yang and Mong Yai townships. In Wan Hai, where the SSPP/SSA has its headquarters, an estimated 10,000 voters reside.
SSPP/SSA spokesperson Lt-Col Sai Su told SHAN it’s allowing the government to construct up to four polling stations, where citizens can freely cast their ballots on election day.
The Union Election Commission reported there are 60,000 eligible voters in Mueng Kao, Nawng Suam, Mueng Nang. Wan Wap, Har Wan, Kog Zarng, Kyeing Luen, Phark Num, Wan Phwi and Pan Sae village-tracts, in Kehis Township.
Lt-Col Sai Su told SHAN that while the numbers may be correct, many villagers are working in China and Thailand.
During the 2015 general election, polling was suspended in most of SSPP/SSA’s controlled area after the Burma Army attacked the ethnic armed organization.
A by-election was held in Mong Hsu and Keshi townships during the 2017 by-election. Sai San Mueng, a parliamentarian for Kehsi Township, said there were two polling stations in Wan Hai and another in nearby Per Khee.
Hsipaw Township is controlled by SSPP/SSA. Despite this, polling was not disrupted during the 2015 election as the township was not affected by the clashes. Sai Aik Oo, who lives in the town of Hsipaw, voted during the last election and expects the same when polling stations open on November 8.
There are 38 political parties contesting the 2020 general election in Shan State. Some political analysts predict the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the National League for Democracy Party (NLD) will fare better in polls because of greater human capacity and capital, which will help during campaigning.