At least half-a-dozen independent and opposition party candidates have so far been disqualified, mainly after the citizenship of their parents was called into question. The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, meanwhile, said as of yesterday evening it had not dropped a single contestant. In the 2010 election, the government was accused by election monitors of skewing the scrutinising process in favour of eliminating opposition candidates in areas anticipated to be hotly contested. Muslim parties in restive Rakhine State are especially worried about this year’s process, after a sitting Muslim MP was cut from the candidate list last week. U Shwe Maung was rejected from the ruling party after serving as a Pyithu Hluttaw representative for Buthidaung for five years.
His bid to re-contest the seat as an independent was blocked after his opponent from the Rakhine National Party – which aims to protect ethnic Rakhine interests – filed a complaint about the MP.
On August 22, the election commission office in Maungdaw sent a letter to U Shwe Maung – who self-identifies as a Rohingya – notifying him that he is ineligible to run as his parents were not citizens when he was born, a claim he denies. Also known as Abdul Rezak, the MP said a Muslim candidate for the Amyotha Hluttaw, Daw Khin Khin Lwin, had also been disqualified.
Four Muslim parties are contesting seats in Rakhine State and Yangon. But even if the candidates pass through the UEC unscathed, they may still face an uphill battle in November’s poll: As many as 500,000 Muslim voters in Rakhine State were removed from voter lists, according to The New York Times.
Full Article: Muslim parties fear exclusion from election.