Campaigning in Hpakant Stopped Following Coronavirus Outbreak

Electoral candidates contesting the 2020 general election have been informed by the Union Election Commission (UEC) they cannot campaign in Hpakant Township after the government invoked a ‘stay at home’ order to stop the coronavirus outbreak.

Tun Aung Khine, chair for Kachin State Election Commission, said campaigning has been prohibited until transmissions are brought under control.

In Kachin State, there are 13 with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Nine are in Hpakant Township. The sudden outbreak in the jade-rich region prompted the government’s Ministry of Health and Sports (MoHS) to invoke the measure on September 20.

The Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP) electoral candidate in Hpakant, La Awng, said they plan to launch their campaign with Facebook. He understands from a “health perspective” it’s just not feasible to campaign in person. “During the stay at home, I think everyone will be using Facebook.”

Tint Soe, a National League for Democracy (NLD) candidate contesting Hpakant Township, told KNG that campaigning was stopped after four people in the township tested positive.

Some parties, mainly those supported by the Burma Army, demanded that the UEC postpone the election. But polling will go ahead on September 8, as planned.

There are 38M eligible voters in Burma in the upcoming election and 1.1M in Kachin State. There are 19 political parties running in the election in the state.

There are 8,515 transmissions confirmed by  MoHS at 8 a.m. on September 25, while 155 have died and 2,381 have recovered. In total, there are 5,979 active cases in Burma.

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