Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Burmese Election Commission disqualified three elected MPs and a legislator from the Rakhine National Democratic Party (RNDP) on Thursday for their alleged election malpractices in favour of plaintiff legislators from the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).
RNDP General-Secretary Oo Hla Saw objected to the verdict, calling it unjust.
“It is really upsetting to see our three elected legislators disqualified. Our party is just a local ethnic party, and we are not challenging them politically. The verdict shows their ill-will to us. It’s suspicious too,” Oo Hla Saw told Mizzima.
The legislators who lost their seats are Pauktaw constituency Upper House MP Kyaw Tun Aung, Lower House MP Aung Kyaw Zan and Rakhine State assembly legislator Maung Kyaw Thein.
“They said the election is free and fair. Our candidates won by a big margin in the tens of thousands of votes. Moreover these legislators and MPs who lost must pay 1.5 million kyat (US$ 1,868) each as costs for the trial. This is totally unjust. I see this case as a political conspiracy,” said Oo Hla Saw.
In their complaint, the USDP candidates claimed that the defendants committed electoral malpractices by disparaging the government during the election campaign and strongly advocated Rakhine nationalism, Oo Hla Saw said. He said there was no evidence presented, such as recordings or videos, to establish the claim.
The party has one month to appeal the verdicts, but no decision has been made yet to appeal. A non-refundable deposit of 1 million kyat (US$ 1,245) is required for an appeal.
Oo Hla Saw said he was suspicious regarding the influence of former Union Home Minister Maung Oo in the case.
“During his recent tour of Rakhine State, he scolded local officials for the defeat of their USDP candidates in Rakhine State. He even ordered them not to give agricultural loans to farmers where our Rakhine candidates won. And then we got these verdicts. It looks like it could be a pre-meditated conspiracy,” he said.
The RNDP won a total of 35 seats in the 2010 election.