USDP candidate says party has no election plan

The Union Solidarity and Development Party has been urged by one of its candidates in Rakhine State to prepare and distribute a master plan for national development it if forms the next government.

A master plan explaining how the party intended to work for the progress of the country and the people would help USDP candidates with campaigning, said U Soe Moe, a retired major and former military MP in the Amyotha Hluttaw.

“It would be of great assistance to candidates in organising their campaign platforms and election pledges to the people,” said U Soe Moe, the USDP candidate for the Pyithu Hluttaw seat of Kyauktaw in Rakhine.

U Soe Moe was among 57 retiring military officers accepted as election candidates by the USDP’s central executive committee from a list of 157 proposed by Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

There have been unconfirmed reports that before Thura U Shwe Mann was removed in August as chairman of the USDP its central executive committee had drafted a master plan for the next government for distribution to election candidates and party members.

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U Soe Moe said that apart from the lack of a master plan he also regretted that the USDP was not providing more financial support to its candidates.

“The party supports us with only three million kyat, but should give more,” he said, adding that he had received a gratuity from the military of K7 million, giving him a total campaign fund of K10 million, the limit allowed by the Union Election Commission.

U Soe Moe said that as a former major, his campaign could not be as effective as that of more senior officers who were standing for the USDP throughout the country. They include retired former Defence Minister Lieutenant-General Wai Lwin, retired former Chief of the General Staff General Wai Lwin, and former Colonel San Shwe Aung.

“Their influence is different than mine,” he said. “I cannot organise people like them, so I have to go out and meet the people personally and give them realistic promises.”

The absence of a master plan and the fact that former senior officers were focussing on winning in their constituencies meant that team work was lacking from the USDP’s campaign strategy, U Soe Moe told Frontier.

“We need team work like a football team; a one-man show cannot achieve anything,” he said.

“I want to see more team work among the USDP candidates instead of each just trying to win in their own constituency.”

U Soe Moe predicted that the USDP would do well in northern Rakhine and its main rival in the state, the Rakhine National Party, would perform strongly in the south.

He said the RNP was trying to win in 13 of the 17 townships in Rakhine, which would give it 26 seats in the 47-member state hluttaw.

Control of the Rakhine state hluttaw by the RNP would theoretically give the party enough votes to choose the state’s chief minister, though such appointments are made by the president.

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