Rakhine National Party MP criticises Shwe Maung election ban

A decision election officials to disqualify Rohingya MP U Shwe Maung from contesting the November election has been criticised by a parliamentarian from the Rakhine National Party.

Those responsible for the decision should be identified and action taken against them, said Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Phay Than, who represents Myebon Township for the RNP.

U Phay Than questioned why U Shwe Maung was ineligible to contest the election, as alleged by election officials, when he had been representing Buthidaung Township for the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party since 2010.

U Shwe Maung, who has resigned from the USDP and intended to contest the election as an independent, said he would appeal against the decision to disqualify him as a candidate.

Union parliament regulations on eligibility to contest elections require both parents to be citizens at the time of a candidate’s birth.

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U Shwe Maung, who was born in 1965, told Frontier his parents had become citizens in 1957. The government rigorously monitored citizenship applications in Rakhine at the time, he said.

The MP said he planned to appeal to the Rakhine Election Commission over his disqualification, which had followed a complaint to the Maungdaw District Election Commission.

RNP MP Daw Khin Saw Wai said responsibility for allowing U Shwe Maung to contest the 2010 election for the USDP rested with its then chairman, U Thein Soe.

Some Rakhine residents had complained about U Shwe Maung’s eligibility ahead of the 2010 election, said Daw Khin Saw Wai, who represents the RNP in Yathaetaung Township.

She alleged that the UEC had taken no action on the complaints because of the close links at the time between the Union Solidarity and Development Party and the military government.

“Now he is an independent candidate and no longer has the support of the ruling party,” Daw Khin Saw Wai said.

Meanwhile, reports have circulated in Nay Pyi Taw that doubts had been raised in 2010 over the eligibility to contest the election of U Thein Nyunt, a minister of the President’s Office and the chair of Nay Pyi Taw Council.

A Pyithu Hluttaw MP who asked not to be named told Frontier that a complaint had been lodged with the UEC in 2010 because U Thein Nyunt’s parents were alleged to be Chinese nationals at the time of his birth.

The MP said no action was taken on the complaint after U Thein Nyunt showed the UEC a letter of support for his candidacy from former Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Than Shwe.

U Thein Nyunt is standing again in Ayeyarwady Region’s Maubin Township, which he won for the USDP in 2010.

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