Burma’s Union Election Commission now have announced all the results of the November 8 polls and Aung San Su Kyi’s National League for Democracy have a massive landslide.
A total of five Karen political parties competed in the 2015 election in Karen State. The five Karen parties could only secure a State Parliamentary seat at Thandaunggyi Constituency no. 2 where the Kayin People’s party’s candidate won.
The Karen State based community organizations and civil society groups involved in the voter education activities spoke about why the Karen parties were so heavily defeated at the polls.
Mahn Thein Zaw, a representative of the Thwee Community Based Network who worked to educate people about how to vote in the election told Karen News that the Karen parties lost because their policies were unclear and they lacked political know-how to win elections.
Speaking to Karen News, Mahn Thein Zaw said.
“It has to do with their policies and strategies. When we compare the Karen parties to the others, they are less experienced in politics and campaigning.”
Mahn Thein Zaw said that the loss might have been affected that the Karen MPs hadn’t done enough for their supporters during their five year-term – this may have been a factor that made voters’ vote for the NLD.
Nan Say Awa, a former House of Representative MP and a Plao-Swor Democratic Party candidate for the State parliament said the loss would not stop them working for the people.
“Although we will not be able to take Karen matters into the Parliament anymore, we are going to work for Karen affairs as much as we can. We have lost because we didn’t have enough support from our people.”
Saw Kyaw Swar from the Karen State Community Network told Karen News that the losses suffered by the Karen parties was not only because of their policies, but because they had less financial support.
Speaking to Karen News, Saw Kyaw Swar said.
“It is true that they didn’t have clear policies and couldn’t do much for their constituents during the five-year-term, but it is also because they had far less financial support. Because of their small budget for campaigning, the party couldn’t reach campaign in all areas.”
Saw Bo Myint, a winning candidate for the NLD in Hpa-an Township Constituency No. 2 for House of Nationalities, agreed with Saw Kyaw Swar on the lack of a campaigning budget added that Karen parties are small and have less members.
Daw Ngwe Myint, a voter from Hla Ka village in Hpa-an Township said that she voted for NLD to be representative by a party that is strong enough to fight against the ruling party [USDP].
“The reason I voted for NLD, and not for our ethnic parties is because I know that they are not strong enough to win against the ruling party. I voted for the NLD because I am hopeful that they will be in stronger position to do something for us to get back our farmland that has been confiscated.”
A total of 18 political parties with 108 candidates ran for 38 parliamentary seats in Karen State, including 7 seats for the House of Representatives, 14 seats for the House of Nationalities and 17 seats for the Karen State Parliament.