Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – USDP General-Secretary Htay Oo says the Burmese ruling party’s massive defeat in the April 1 by-election poses many challenges for the party in order to hold on to its majority in the 2015 elections. The party recently assessed the election results, looking forward to the next election.
Among the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) weaknesses were a failure to deal effectively with the media, poor candidates who did not appeal to the people, and a lack of organization at the grassroots level, Htay Oo told Mizzima.
He said an overall weakness was a lack of support because “people don’t understand us,” and they were not aware of the party’s contributions.
Speaking bluntly, he said, “In my opinion, the people did not like some individual members of our party. Some of them are not in harmony with people. We must replace such persons.”
Htay Oo said party officials would have to work to add more organizers in rural areas to get their political message well known and to build a mass base of support.
“The most fundamental party workers are our organizers in rural areas,” he said. “We must tell people about our party activities, what we want to do, so the local people through these grassroots party workers understand and can work effectively in building support.”
The main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, contested in 44 seats out of a total 45 seats and won 43 seats. The Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) and the USDP each won one seat. Opposition party members of Parliament still represent less than 20 per cent of the seats in Parliament.
Prior to the by-election, Mizzima conducted a political poll surveying voters’ attitudes and found that 60 per cent of the respondents planned to vote for a National League for Democracy candidate.
A strong 78 per cent of the respondents said they knew about their candidate’s policies, while 26 per cent said they did not know about their candidate’s policies.
Asked how they learned about their candidate’s policies, nearly 30 per cent said by reading a brochure; 28 per cent said from the candidate; 14 per cent said family; followed by media: television, 8.81 per cent and radio, 6.90 per cent; and other, 1.92 per cent.
Asked which political party they planned to vote for, 60 per cent of the respondents said the NLD party; 32 per cent, the USDP; 6 per cent the National Unity Party and 2 per cent did not answer.
Asked why they chose that party, 45 per cent said “party policy and candidate”; 23 per cent said “party activities”; 19 per cent said “qualification and capability of candidate,” and 13 per cent gave no answer.
Asked which party they believed would win the election, 58 per cent said the NLD; 31 per cent, USDP; 1 per cent NUP; and 10 per cent gave no answer.