Karen State Based Political Parties Back Election Commission Proposal for Land and Tax-Free Car Import Permits

The majority of Karen State based political parties are willing to accept proposed offer put up by the Union Election Commission of Burma (EUC) of providing political parties with land for office space and five vehicles tax-free import permits. The Election Commission’s proposal is now waiting on approval from the country’s President, U Sein Thein.

The Union Election Commission submitted its proposal to President U Thein Sein seeking the government’s permission to provide land for offices and car import permits to the 65 political parties officially registered in the country on May 22, 2014.

A number of sources from Karen State based political parties said that most [political] parties are willing to accept the tax-free vehicle import permits and the land for offices offered in the UEC proposal.

Mahn Aung Pyi Soe, vice chairman of the Karen Stated based Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party (PSDP) told Karen News on June 13 that his party’s position is to accept the offer of land and vehicle permits if it is gets approval from the President’s office.

Speaking to Karen News, Mahn Aung Pyi Soe said. “This issue is still at the proposal stage, if it gets approved, we have considered accepting the offers.”

Saw Htar Lone, the chairman of Union Solidarity of Development Party (USDP) for Karen State told Karen News that, it is dependent on the position of the political parties whether to accept or reject the offers. The USPD party sees that the tax-free cars import permit is beneficial to help political parties to do their work in their constituency.

Except for the National League for Democracy (NLD), most of the Karen State based political parties including Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party (PSDP), Union Solidarity of Development Party (USDP), Kayin State Democracy and Development Party (KSDDP), Kayin Democratic Party, Ethnic Unity Party and other smaller parties have expressed that they will accept the tax-free cars import permit.

Nan Khin Htwe Myint, a member of the Central Executive Committee of the NLD in Hpa-an refused the offers of cars and land and said. “We see that the offer comes when the time is getting closer to the next election and the car import permit may appeal to some smaller parties, it seems like a form of campaign. As the NLD is a party supported by the people, we will continue to carry out our party’s work with the support of the people.”

A resident from Hpa-An, who asked to remain anonymous, told Karen News that he did not agree that political parties should accept free land or vehicle permits.

“The NLD party should not accept the cars [tax-free import] permit. NLD is a big party and it should not accept this offer for the sake of its party’s dignity.”

According to sources from other political parties, the UEC proposal was raised by smaller political parties, who say they are underfunded and have difficulties implementing its party’s works and were seeking official State grants to help support the party’s day-to-day workload.

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