Sai Kham Leng, one of the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) candidates, who was contesting for a seat at the upper house in Northern Shan State’s Lashio district has reportedly lost to the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) candidate due to advance voting results, according to sources from SNDP members.
“When we counted the votes on the day of elections, Sai Kham Leng got around 20,000 and his USDP rival Sai Mawk Kham just got about 500. But when we came to count the advance votes, Sai Kham Leng just got about over 200 and Sai Mawk Kham got over 10,000,” a member of SNDP who asked not to be named said.
Sai Kham Leng’s opponent is Dr. Sai Mawk Kham, the owner of private clinic, Yuli Kha (Do Be Well) and who enjoys close relations with former Northeastern Region Command Commander Lt-Gen Aung Than Htut, who was recently promoted to Commander of Shan and Kayah States.
“How come that there were only a few advance votes for Sai Kham Leng compared to those he got on the election day?,” a SNDP candidate asked rhetorically.
Sai Kham Leng was said to have received 28,861including 271 advance votes and Dr. Sai Mawk Kham 43,641 including10, 140 advance votes.
According to a source close to township election commission in Lashio, party members of USDP in Lashio district received Kyat 100 million (US$ 100,000) from the ruling military junta to spend in their campaigns.
Two candidates, Sai Kyu and Sai Myint Aye, both of whom contested at state legislature reportedly received Kyat 10 million each (US$ 10,000) and Sai Mawk Kham Kyat 50 million (US$ 50,000) plus 10 CDMA phone cards. The price for one CDMA phone card is over 600,000 Kyat (US$ 6,000), the source said.
“He [Sai Mawk Kham] even presented one to the Chairman of Quarter Peace and Development Council (QPDC) No. 6,” he said.
In addition, each of the officials who were assigned to take charge of polling stations was given Kyat 2,000 (US$ 2) and some was given Kyat 3,000 ($3). The total number of polling stations in Lashio was 115.
The USDP candidates reportedly won all the seats for the three parliaments. Similarly, all USDP candidates won all the seats in Mabein township, Kyaukme District, Northern Shan State.
According to Sai Ai Pao, Chairman of SNDP, 50 out of 156 SNDP candidates won in several townships across the country. The SNDP contested for 114 seats in the whole Shan State, North, East and South, 35 seats in Kachin State and 6 seats in Sagaing Division and 1 in Mandalay Division.
There are 172 seats being contested in Shan State alone: lower house, 51; upper house, 12; and state house, 109.