April 12, 2021
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Voting disallowed in most of conflict-affected Paletwa Township

4 November 2020 – Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) announced last week that voting would not take place in 94 out of 102 village tracts in Paletwa township, Chin State in the upcoming 2020 general election.

Mr. Lin Kyaw, secretary of the Chin State Election Commission, told the Khonumthung News that voting would only take place in two towns, Sami and Paletwa, and in one village tract, Shin Let Wa, adding: “If we build many polling stations, people will suffer a lot because of regional instability. The parties won’t suffer. Electoral candidates won’t suffer.”

The Khumi Affairs Coordination Committee (KACC) said that it had submitted a letter, urging the UEC to allow election in some of the areas.

Salai Pai Nang, coordinator of the Khumi Affairs Coordination Committee (KACC), said that the UEC’s announcement had shocked him and that he had felt so upset for the local people. “I think people have lost their citizenship rights,” he added.

Out of 94 village tracts where voting is cancelled, there are 12 village tracts where no clashes between Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army have been recorded.

According to the UEC, polling will only be allowed in four wards in downtown Paletwa, three wards in Sami, and Shin Letwa village tract.

Soe Htet, State minister of Development, Electricity and Municipal Affairs was quoted as saying by the Burma News International (BNI) that polling could be safely conducted in 80 village tracts although AA maintained troops in 22 village tracts in Paletwa township.

Morever, the UEC announced the cancellation of the election in nine townships in Rakhine State, six townships in Shan State, hundreds of village tracts throughout Kachin and Karen States, and Bago Region, as well as one in Mon State. – Reporting by Cer Len Ci and Naomy VT Chin

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