Leaflets being distributed by an ultra-nationalist organisation that used religion to criticise the National League for Democracy had badly affected its campaign, party patron U Tin Oo told a news conference in Yangon on September 21.
Ma Ba Tha, the organisation led by Buddhist monks known as the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion, was distributing leaflets throughout Ayeyarwady Region urging voters not to support the NLD “for the sake of our religion”, U Tin Oo said.
Ma Ba Tha members in Rakhine State were also urging voters not to support the NLD, he told a briefing on the party’s campaign activities. U Tin Oo said the NLD had responded to the situation by asking officials in some areas to take legal action against Ma Ba Tha members.
He said media attention on Ma Ba Tha’s activities had resulted in fewer leaflets being distributed.
The Ma Ba Tha criticism of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Rakhine State had raised concern about security during her planned visit to the state in mid-October, NLD spokesman U Win Htain told the briefing.
There is strong support for Ma Ba Tha in Taungup Township in southern Rakhine, where the NLD leader is due to begin her visit to the state.
U Win Htein admitted that NLD candidates would struggle to be elected in Rakhine as well as Shan and Kachin states but said Chin, Kayin and Mon states “would surely be good for us”.
The NLD is fielding a total of 1130 candidates in Union, state and regional constituencies. It submitted a list of 1138 candidates to the Union Election Commission but eight were rejected.