Election aftermath: The big losers

The big winner in the election was the National League for Democracy. But who came up short?

Thura U Shwe Mann

The parliamentary Speaker and ousted former chairman of the USDP, Thura U Shwe Mann, was among the surprise losers in the election, which has dashed his well-known ambition of becoming president.

Thura U Shwe Mann, whose removal as chairman of the ruling party on August 12 came after he developed a close relationship with NLD leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, was defeated in his bid to be elected as the Pyithu Hluttaw representative of his native Pyu Township constituency in western Bago Region.

Perhaps there is some irony in the fact that he was beaten by the NLD candidate, U Than Nyunt.

Thura U Shwe Mann announced his loss in a post on his Facebook page on the morning after the election in which he extended his congratulations to U Than Nyunt. the Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw and U Than Nyunt have been friends since childhood, when they attended the same primary school. Both applied for admission to the Defence Services Academy at Pyin Oo Lwin. U Than Nyunt failed the entrance examination but Thura U Shwe Mann passed, launching a career in the Tatmadaw that saw him rise to become the third most senior member of the previous military government.

‘Bullet’ Hla Swe

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U Hla Swe, who represented the USDP in the Amyotha Hluttaw as its representative for Magway Region and was widely known for his sense of humour and his Facebook posts, was defeated by the NLD’s U Pyu Lwin.

The former lieutenant-general earned the nickname ‘Bullet’ Hla Swe for a social media post saying that if the Kachin Independence Army didn’t accept the hand of peace, they would be offered the ‘bullet hand’ instead. 

U Hla Swe, whose hometown is Gangaw, had issued a Facebook challenge for members of other parties to stand against him in the election, saying “nobody can defeat me”, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of independence hero, General Aung San. Asked to explain his defeat, U Hla Swe said he was “contesting with General Aung San, not with an NLD candidate; that’s why I lost.”

He also likened the red flag of the NLD to the flag used by communists.

National Democratic Force

The National Democratic Force, which broke from the NLD over that party’s decision to boycott the 2010 election, failed to win any seats, despite fielding 265 Union parliament candidates.

The NDF won eight seats in the Union parliament in 2010. “We’ve got nothing,” NDF chairman U Khin Maung Swe told Frontier. “The people have voted for one party and it will lead to one party domination,” he said.

U Htay Oo

U Htay Oo played a key role in the removal of Thura U Shwe Mann as chairman of the USDP and was subsequently appointed as the party’s joint chairman.

The former vice-chairman of the USDP, who was known to be close to junta leader, former Senior General Than Shwe, had sought election to the Pyithu Hluttaw as the representative for Hinthada township, in Ayeyarwady Region.

He was defeated by the NLD’s U Khin Maung Yee.

U Htay Oo was criticised during the election campaign for having made a disparaging comment about Daw Aung San Suu Kyi having been kissed by US President Barack Obama on each of his two visits to Myanmar. He later apologised, saying his comment was a slip of the tongue.

The former Major-General Htay Oo was Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation in the previous military government and was one of many officers for whom Ayeyarwady Region had played a key role in their military careers. Among the past and present senior officers who have been in charge of South Western Command, which covers Ayeyarwady Region, are former Senior General Than Shwe, former General Thein Sein and former General Thura U Shwe Mann.

U Ohn Myint

The Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development, U Ohn Myint, posted two popular songs on his Facebook page on november 10 to express sadness over his defeat in Kyauktan township, Yangon Region. the Pyithu Hluttaw seat was won by the NLD’s Daw Aye Mya Mya Myo.

U Ohn Myint was in the headlines over an incident during a visit to a Magway Region village in February 2014 when he threatened to slap the face of a resident who had asked when the community would have electricity. The minister’s angry outburst was filmed and posted on Facebook.

U Kyaw Hsan

Cooperatives Minister U Kyaw Hsan, the Minister of Information during the previous military government, lost his attempt to take the Pyithu Hluttaw seat of Pale township in Sagaing Region from the sitting MP, the NLD’s Daw Khin San Hlaing.

U Kyaw Hsan had come under criticism over the Cooperatives Ministry’s sale of poor quality tractors to farmers in the constituency. He had also come under fire over his role in negotiating a loan from the China Import and Export Bank on which the interest charged was 4.5 percent, which was regarded by critics as being too expensive for the government.

U Aung Min

President’s Office Minister U Aung Min, who played a key role in the ceasefire negotiations as the leader of the government’s delegation, was defeated in Kayah State by NLD candidate U Aung Kyaw Soe.

U Aung Min had been standing as an independent in the Amyotha Hluttaw contest.

His decision to seek election as an independent came after he failed to be chosen as an USDP candidate while Thura U Shwe Mann was in charge of the party’s election committee team, before the speaker’s ouster as chairman.

U Aung Min had wanted to stand as a USDP candidate in Kayah.

U Thein Nyunt

New National Democratic Party MP U Thein Nyunt lost his bid to retain his seat as the Pyithu Hluttaw representative of Yangon’s Thingangyun township, where he was defeated by the NLD’s U Shwe Hla Win.

U Thein Nyunt, who was highly regarded by many MPs over his support for constitutional reform, had been confident of holding the seat, which he won in 2010 with 55 percent of the vote.

Speaking before the election, the NNDP chairman told the Myanmar Now news agency that an “elected dictatorship will emerge” after the ballot.

the NNDP was formed by former members of the NDF when that party split shortly after the 2010 election. 

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