By-election begins in Myanmar

Indo Asian News Service

Nay Pyi Taw, April 1 (IANS) A multi-party parliamentary by-election began across Myanmar on Saturday with two million eligible voters.

A total of 94 candidates including 16 female are competing for 19 vacant seats in 22 townships, Xinhua news agency reported.

It is the first by-election since the new government, led by the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), took office last year.

Of the 19 vacant seats, nine are with the House of Representatives (Lower House), three with the House of Nationalities (Upper House) and seven with the state parliaments.

Of the 94 candidates, 87 are from 24 political parties with 18 each shared by the NLD and the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), while seven are individuals.

In Yangon region, over one million voters are expected to cast their votes in five townships constituencies, including two competitively strong ones -- Kawhmu and Hlaingtharya.

The vacant seat of House of Representatives in Kawhmu, left by Aung San Suu Kyi after she became a government cabinet member, was contested among nine candidates, while Hlaingtharya's similar seat was competed among eight candidates.

The 19 seats were left by parliament members after they were appointed as government cabinet ministers, while other vacancies were available as some constituencies failed to hold polling in the last general election in 2015.

The polling began at 6 a.m. and will close at 4 p.m. The results will be announced on Saturday.

--IANS

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