NAY PYI TAW — By-elections to fill 18 vacant seats in the two houses of the Union Parliament and the Shan and Kayah hluttaws will be held on April 1 next year, the Union Election Commission has announced.
Most of the by-elections are to fill vacancies created by the appointment to government positions of MPs who won seats in the 2015 general election, though two follow the deaths of incumbents. The by-elections in Shan State are in constituencies where voting was cancelled last year for security reasons.
In an announcement in state-controlled media on October 11, the UEC said there would be nine by-elections for Pyithu Hluttaw seats, three for vacancies in the Amyotha Hluttaw, five for the Shan State Hluttaw and one for the Kayah State Hluttaw.
Four of the by-elections for Pyithu Hluttaw vacancies will be in Yangon Region constituencies, including Kawmhu, held last November by the leader of the National League for Democracy, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who made her parliamentary debut after winning the seat in a 2012 by-election.
There will be two by-elections for the Lower House in Shan State (Kyethi and Hmong Hsu), and one each in Sagaing Region (Monywa), Mon State (Chaungzon) and Rakhine State (Ann).
The Amyotha Hluttaw by-elections are for Yangon Region Constituency 6 (which includes Kamaryut, Kyimyindaing, Latha, Lanmadaw and Ahlone townships), Bago Region Constituency 4 and Chin State Constituency 3.
The Shan State Hluttaw seats to be contested are Kyethi Township constituencies 1 and 2, Mong Hsu Township constituencies 1 and 2, and Kengtung Township. The by-election for the Kayah assembly will be in Hpruso Township.
The NLD and the Union Development and Solidarity Party are planning to contest all vacant seats. The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy is also reported to have said it would field candidates in all by-elections in Shan State.
UEC secretary, U Tin Tun, said last week the commission was preparing to deploy staff to compile lists of eligible voters for the by-elections.
“We have begun the office work and we will begin the field work to make voters’ lists in one or two weeks,” he told Frontier on October 10 after UEC officials from throughout the country met at its Nay Pyi Taw headquarters for the first time since the elections last year.
An election law amendment approved last May bans the holding of by-elections during the first and final year of a hluttaw’s tenure and requires the UEC to hold by-elections within one year after being advised of vacancies by the Union Parliament speaker.
The UEC was advised of the Pyithu and Amyotha hluttaw vacancies immediately after the law was amended.