Polling going on for Myanmar parliamentary by-elections

Indo Asian News Service

Yangon, April 1 (IANS) Multi-party parliamentary by-elections began across Myanmar on Saturday morning with two million voters going to the polls to cast their votes.

A total of 94 candidates, including 16 women, were competing for 19 vacant parliamentary seats in 22 townships across the nation.

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

Of the 19 vacant parliamentary 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.

In Kawhmu township constituency, the main opponents for the seat of House of Representatives are U Kyaw Swe Win of the NLD and U Kyaw Zin Hein of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

In the Hlaingtharya township constituency, the main competitors are represented by U Win Min of the NLD and U Tin Yu of the USDP.

The 19 seats were left by Parliament members after they were appointed 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. (local time) and will close at 4 p.m. It will be followed by open counting of votes.

Election results or names of winning parliamentarians-elect will be announced in Nay Pyi Taw late Saturday.