Wednesday, 08 February 2012 14:30 Mizzima News
A total of 17 political parties including 11 old and six newly registered parties will run in by-elections, according to local media.
An election commission announcement on Wednesday said the two political parties are the Democratic Alliance Party and 88-Forces of People's Party.
There are 48 vacant seats in Parliament at three levels available for contest in the by-elections.
Of the 48 seats in constituencies in 10 regions or states, 40 are for the Lower House, six for Upper House and two for region or state parliaments.
Both the main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and the ruling party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), will contest in all 48 vacant constituencies.
In the lead-up to the election, numerous government officials have publicly stated that the by-election will be free and fair, an assurance also given to a host of international political figures who have visited top Burmese leaders in the past several months. A free and fair election is an essential demand before the lifting of economic sanctions, said Western leaders.
The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) will contest in all vacant constituencies, while the National Democratic Force (NDF) and National Unity Party (NUP) plan to contest in about 20 constituencies respectively. A newly formed party, the New National Democracy Party (NNDP), will contest for three seats.
Included among the National League for Democracy candidates are the well-known Burmese rapper Ratha, who will contest for a seat in Parliament from the Mayangone constituency, and Phyu Phyu Thin, an NLD social care leader, who has managed an HIV/AIDS centre in Rangoon. Members of the 88-Generation students group announced that it would not run candidates under the 88-Generation banner. Many of its leaders were only recently released in the latest amnesty round granted by the government in January. The group leader’s said they supported NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi and would work with her in the by-election.
The Rakhine National Democratic Party, mainly based in Arakan State, and the Chin National Party (CNP), mainly based in Chin State, said they would not contest in the by-elections.
In the 2010 general election, the ruling USDP won a majority of seats in 882 out of a total 1,154 constituencies, or 76.5 per cent.
The NUP won 63 seats and the SNDP, RNDP, NDF and AMDP won 57, 35, 16 and 16 seats respectively.
The NLD did not contest in the 2010 election. However, it is contesting in 48 vacant seats in the by-election and is expected to win the majority, if not all, of the empty seats, which are unfiled because of resignations, illness or other factors.