Seven villages under NMSP unable to vote in 2020 election due to security concerns

June 22, 2020

HURFOM: People living in seven villages in the Ye Chaung Phya region, a New Mon State Party controlled area in Ye Township, Mon State will lose their right to vote in the 2020 election.

We’ve been making a huge effort for the people in Ye Chaung Phya to get the right to vote. But we aren’t allowed to collect a voter list. There are challenges,” said an activist who lives in Ye Town.

Activists filed a report to the Ye Township Administrator seeking the ability to  collect names for a voter list in seven villages of Ye Chaung Phya area, but the Kyaung Yaw village Administrator said there are  security concerns in the area. As a result the Ye Administrator has not approved the request.

We’re ready to collect the voter list. We have organizations who will help us. We’ve already talked with the Immigration Department to grant a National Registration Card (NRC) to those people. But the Kyaung Yaw village Administrator reported to the Township Administrator that there is a security concern so we can’t continue our work,” said the activist.

All seven villages are controlled by the NMSP and none were able to vote in both the 2010 and 2015 elections. The NMSP signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA)  in February, 2018 leaving the people living in those villages with the hope they would be able to cast their votes in the 2020 election.

Both the NMSP and the Mon Unity Party – MUP should make an attempt for Ye Chaung Phya villages to get the right to vote. It isn’t appropriate for them to lose right to vote,” said a member of MUP in Kyaung Yaw village.

U Myint Nyne, a member of Union Election Commission (UEC), said the Commission would hold a meeting with Division and State Election Sub-commissions and particular government departments in the third week of June to discuss the issue and arrange constituencies for the 2020 election.

The United Wa State Army (UWSA) met with the UEC in February, 2020 and discussed holding an election in their self-administered zone.

Although holding elections and arranging constituencies falls under the authority of the UEC and there is no history of holding an election in areas totally controlled by Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs).

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