Monday, 25 May 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The Burma border security force (Nasaka) has issued a secret order for all section commanders to gather support directly or indirectly for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in Burma’s upcoming elections, a Nasaka officer said.

Nasaka’s director ordered section commanders to pressure village authorities to get their residents to vote for USDP candidates in the November 7 election, the officer said.

The border security force has already used threats and intimidation to sway the upcoming vote, said a village authority from Alaythankyaw, where touring Nasaka officials have urged residents to vote USDP and warned that if they support the National Democratic Party for Development (NDPD), they will face increased harassment.

Authorities on Maungdaw district set up an advanced voting system on September 29, according to an election watchdog group in Maungdaw. The authorities said the system would allow “elderly people, prisoners and women to vote on November 6.”

An official from Maungdaw who asked not to be named said the USDP and its organizing group, the Regional Development Association (RDA), have met in secret with the township election commissioner to find ways to turn the advanced vote to the advantage of the USDP.

“Concerned authorities and USDP members are trying to win the November 7 election before any votes are cast by illegally using the power of the ruling junta to threaten local people from Maungdaw,” said the election watchdog group.

USDP candidate Aung Zaw Win and other party members reportedly met with the influential Moulana Anwar, an organizer of religious leaders of the Nurullah para Madarasa, to urge him to support the USDP, the watchdog group said.

Aung Zaw Win reportedly told Anwar that the religious leaders risked losing their positions if they didn’t support the USDA.