Burma’s Union Election Commission announced polling in Mong Kung Township is canceled despite there hasn’t been any fighting in the southern Shan State township.
Sai Hseng Mong, a parliamentarian for Mong Kung Township spoke against the cancelation. “Our region is stable,” he said. If polling isn’t allowed, “citizens will lose their voting rights” and there won’t be anyone representing the township.
Sai Hseng Mong told SHAN that he and others are in talks with UEC to restore polling in the area. “They (UEC) should ensure that those registered for voting can cast their ballots.”
According to an October 16 statement released by the President’s Office, the election was cancelled in Mong Kung Township due to violence, interference, threatening acts, hate speech, regional instability caused by racial and religious discrimination and other illegal activities.
Mai Nom Han, chair of Ta’ang National Party (TNP), told SHAN that the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) interfered with candidates during campaigning. “RCSS/SSA repeatedly blocked us during our election campaign in Mong Kung Township. And we couldn’t go to Ta’ang villages.”
TNP reported it to the UEC.
RCSS/SSA spokesperson Lt-Col Oum Khur denied stopping TNP candidates. “We didn’t disturb any party or candidate during the election campaign period,” he said, while explaining people were required to pass through their medical checkpoints as part of the ethnic armed organization’s COVID-19 prevention campaign.
While the UEC canceled polling in Mong Kung Township, the election will proceed in other areas of Shan State marred by conflict, causing some residents to doubt the ruling National League for Democracy government.
SHAN repeatedly tried to reach Shan State Election Commission Chair Htin Kyaw for comment, but he did not respond.
The UEC also announced polling is cancelled in Mongla, Panghsang, Ner Hparn and Mong Mau townships, all located in Shan State. And the election is stopped in some village-tracts in Kyaukme, Nawngkio, Namhsan, Marntong, Kutkai, Muse, Tarng Yarn, Lashio, Koon Long, Ho Pang, Markmang, Koong Gyeng , Mong Hkarg, Mong Yang, Mong Hpyat, Mong Yawng, Mongtoan townships.
During the 2015 race, polling was cancelled in Monghsu, Mong Nawng and Kehsi townships, and in six townships in Wa Self-Administered Division.