Interview| Kyaw Htin Aung- the Board Chairperson of LAIN-Technical Support Group Said “The Election Commission in Poor Effort Due to COVID Pandemic”
Soe Htike Aung
Q- What do you see the Election Commission are doing so far? What should they have done already?
Ans- During the COVID outbreak, their election campaigning activities had lower profile instead of empowering it. Because of this, they could not have done any action for election process in ground level within these five months period started from 2020, and we see that they spent more on statistics and office work. Until now all the states/divisions and township election commissions are working On Paper related to the basic voter list and voting rights. So, we heard that the Department of Immigration still could not manage to release the draft list of eligible voters, who are aged 18-and-over and have the rights to vote on the election day; and yet, they even could not poster the basic voter list for the public to check it out.
Q- We have known that in previous 2015 election, there are some people who are not eligible to vote in the election as the voter lists are announced only it is closed to the election day. What should be done so far not to happen this year, 2020 election, as previous election?
Ans- Yes, if we look back the previous 2015 election, May last week was the week which the basic voter list was announced as second time. Comparing to 2020 General Election, they still could not announce even the first-time basic voter list. The citizens also still could not know whether their names are listed in their related constituency. The step to edit, correct, or cancel back the incorrect name list, birthdate, or other information is also in delay as the list haven’t published.
Q- According to 2014 Housing Census, there are almost 20,000 population who do not have Identity Card in our state. So, will they have rights to vote as they do not hold ID card? What shall the Election Commission Office do regard to it?
Ans- Indeed, those people are also our nationals. They are the ones who have fled from civil war in 1994-95-96, and lost villages and homes. Although there are occasions which they lost their ID card or Form-10, we see the related department have poor capability to redo it for them.
Q- Another question, we have found in your published article that NLD Party would lost some constituencies in this 2020 election. Regarding it, please explain how you analyze based on which perspectives?
Ans- So far NLD have won the seat for four years already. Within four years, although the publics voted them in 2015 election, the next election votes and support from publics have declined since mid-2019 due to the poor effort of NLD representatives from our state, the publics against activities committed by NLD party members, abuse of power and authorities, their ignorance of local voices.
Q- The youths assisted and supported NLD in last 2015 election, but which party will they supported in the upcoming election?
Ans- In this phase, most of the Karenni (Kayah) State youths will not support the NLD as previous 2015; instead of it, they should support the state based ethnic parties in 2020 election in order to build federal democracy state and to have the rights to create own destiny. In term of the supporting, it is impossible for the NLD to win the seats as before and they could even lose so many percentages in the upcoming 2020 election even though they won 26 constituencies out of 34 constituencies in 2015. The condition could change and decline to 50%. In my view and analysis, the vote could even decline less than 50%.
Q- It mentioned any persons aged 18 and over have the rights to vote. However, could you tell us how to do for those who are not listed in the voter list?
Ans- In the past 14th May 2015, they released the second-round voter lists at Ward Office. Basically, the regional election commissions should prepare at regional administration offices to release the basic voter lists so that the citizens can check their name on the list, the first time voters, aged-18, also can check their names, and they can also check whether the listed names included the names of dead person or migrated person. However, they still could not do it until this month.
This is because they didn’t do regularly. In case the election date is postponed and extended the time, it would be just a “cover”. But, it is elected for terms of five years according to 2008 constitution. The Hluttaw representatives are also the same, and so do the president. In that case, the total months are 60 months, and it is not left much.
Q- What do you want to add regard to the election?
Ans- Yes, the 2020 election will be the third round, voting 75% to the Hluttaw representatives according to the regulation of 2008 constitution. Thus, I don’t like the 2008 constitution. I want 100% voting eligibility instead of 75%. However, the second-round Hluttaw and NLD government could not change anything related to the 2008 constitution. What they could have done was just the two words ¾ the differently able persons and elderly people ¾ which they will collect all the votes including it in the election. It would be the best if the third-round 2020 election will be held on the released date with the terms of five years in order to enable to form the constitution for the future federal-democracy union and to be able to execute from Hluttaw. Besides, we need the election to be held basically in order to prevent from the democratic backsliding, or to maintain it even if it could not be moving forward.