Testing the leaders offered by the crisis in Myanmar elections


Thu Thu Aung and Poppy McPherson

MYTHS, Myanmar (Reuters) – MYUNGSAN, Myanmar (Reuters) – Aung San Suu Kyi Nobel Laureate, who two years ago from Myanmar leadership has changed since. ahead of the Sabbath election series.

But beyond the boundaries of the city, the nearby civil war remembers. Many say that the administration is unable to handle the most difficult problems in the country, including the continuation of ethnic struggle, before the voters in front of the voters who are closely monitored this weekend for the future of the Suu Kyi government and the democratic transition in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi swept the power for the peace process to end the many ethnic conflicts in Myanmar. Since then, however, Kachin saw the strongest fight between the military and the ethnic rebels, as seven years ago a ceasefire had forced thousands of people to leave.

"We voted for him, and he won and came into power," said the 40-year-old Htu Lun, who was home to him in 2011 and has since been living in one of the dozens of displacement camps in Myitkyina State.

"But in reality nothing has changed, now the election time has come again, what will be the party that serves our interests."

Thirteen seats in the upper and lower chambers of parliament and in the regional congregations in Myanmar are being discussed at Saturday's elections. Eleven broke up when legislators died in office, reflecting Myanmar's aging political leadership while a representative, Win Myint, became president.

The election of the NLD by the end of 2015 ended the end of the half-century junta government, but the new government, which has to continue to share power with the army, is now facing multiple crises.

The army was accused by United Nations investigators of rights that they had "genocidal intentions" against Rohingya Muslims in last year's western rakhine state. Meanwhile, the economy slowed down and peaceful talks with the rebels with Kachin and other ethnic minority areas stopped.

Suu Kyi's administration has no influence over the army, but has denied almost all allegations against the Rakhine troops. NLD spokeswoman Myo Nyunt told Reuters that economic development was jammed, but it did not reverse, and people's expectations were too high. The creation of peace is the prime importance of the government, he said, but all parties, including ethnic leaders and the army, should work together.

While many Sabbath seats are occupied in the Buddhist center of the country and are likely to remain under NLD's control, representatives of the ruling party have voiced concerns about areas where they opposed the rigid competition of uproarious ethnic parties.

A low turnout in some places may change the outcome in the NLD direction, analysts said. Though Myitky is one of the most controversial meetings, many people Reuters talked about did not know that they were in elections, while others claimed they did not plan to vote.

"This time we have to fight for victory – it will not be easy," said Aung Shin, NLD spokeswoman.

At the end of last month, Suu Kyi moved to Myitkyin, visiting relocation camps and a drug rehabilitation center funded by love.

Yan Hkawn, the party's candidate in the city, said the vote is likely to be split.

Suu Kyi is trying to solve the problem of all countries, he said. "It's not easy to get alone, walk alone," he said.


Although supporters claim that the government needs more time to change change, disillusionment is high in ethnic areas where residents have long-term distrust of the Bamar Buddhist majority.

"Daw Suu Kyi promised us," We change everything, everyone has equal rights, "said Win Aung, a 80-year-old Muslim leader who sat beside the road after looking at his face.

But religious discrimination against Christians – the majority in Kachin State – and the Muslims continued, he said.

"We need permission when we are planning a religious celebration," he said. – We'll never get permission yet.

NLD spokeswoman Myo Nyunt says the government is working to bridge the religious and racial divide.

"The person who understands the Myanmar policy will know that there are a huge number of religious fanatics," he told Reuters. – We can not change this within a short time.

In addition to having forced more than 700,000 Rohingya from Rakhine to flee to Bangladesh after the 2017 military retaliation, more than 68,000 people were forced to flee from Kachin and North Shan in January 2017 as UN Humanitarian Coordination Affairs cases.

In the October report by the PACE Independent Election Observation Group, a quarter of respondents claimed ethnic conflicts worsened as the NLD came to power.

There are six controversial sessions on Saturday, and analysts are watching the outcome of what is expected when the country's next polls are polling by 2020.

Over the past few months, the formerly controversial minority parties merged to operate under a flag, forming alliances that could pose a serious challenge to the NLD, which currently represents a comfortable majority in parliament, despite the constitution of 25% .

"We see the ethnic movement in the election very strong," said Yangon-based analyst Maung Maung Soe. "If there is no landslide victory like in 2015, it will be difficult for the NLD to create a local government, to prepare for an alliance or to associate with ethnic parties."

In Kachin, four ethnic parties participate in the Kachin Democratic Party championship, following a recent merger that resulted in a five-year trial led by Gumgrawng Awng Hkam.

The former activist, who had been in exile during the junta, was once a supporter of Aung San Suu Kyi. He said that his government was not transparent in his response to Rohingya rakhine's allegations of human rights abuses or expressed his condolences to the suffering of ethnic Kachin.

"He dropped hands of ethnic and democratic allies and took over the army's arm," he said as he sat at Myitkyina's party center.

It is a vision of a large alliance of ethnic parties, which in 2020 could be a big challenge for the NLD.

"We can not form a government in our own ethnic forces," he said. "We will have an alliance with a harmonious party for us … There is no constant enemy, no permanent friendship in politics."

(Thu Thu Aung and Poppy McPherson Report, Editing Alex Richardson)


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