Speaker of Arakan State Parliament U San Kyaw Hla (left) attends opening of the office of Arakan State election monitoring group.

Phadu Tun Aung, Myat Swe | DMG
30 November, Sittwe

The general elections would be held in Arakan State where clashes between the Tatmadaw and Arakan Army (AA) are ongoing, for the sake of the government’s dignity, said U San Kyaw Hla, Speaker of Arakan State Parliament at the opening of an election monitoring office in Sittwe on 29 November.

The former quasi-civilian government led by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) managed to organize the 2015 general elections successfully. The NLD-led incumbent government would strive for the successful holding of the 2020 general elections in Arakan State in an attempt to protect its dignity, Arakan State parliament speaker said.

“If the present regime is unable to hold the 2020 general elections in Arakan State, it will be regarded as a poor government. The government would suffer if it cannot hold the general elections in Arakan State,” he added.

The Wan Lark Rural Development Foundation, the Peace & Development Initiative (Kintha), the Arakanese Youth New Generation Network and People for People, a local charitable organization have all merged to form the Arakan State election monitoring group to observe the 2020 general elections in Arakan State.

There are 21,000 polling stations in Arakan State and around 1.4 million people will be eligible to vote in the 2020 general elections. Observers will monitor about 1,000 out of 21,000 polling stations in Arakan State, according to the Arakan State election monitoring group.

“We would watch the polling stations in 17 townships in Arakan State especially the areas where disputes may occur. For example, there are 11 political parties in Arakan State. We would prioritize the areas where possible election disputes among political parties may erupt,” U Khaing Kaung San, an official from the Arakan State election monitoring group said.

Political parties and civil society organizations are worried that the 2020 general elections will be cancelled in Arakan State as fighting between the Tatmadaw and Arakan Army (AA) has been intensifying in eight townships.

The Union Election Commission has made a decision to hold the 2020 general elections in all townships in Arakan State, the commission members told the media in the second week of November.

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