A two week extension of the campaigning period for 2014’s expected by-elections will be granted for remote regional areas, but there will be no universal extension of the currently established one month election period, U Thaung Hlaing, director of the election department of the Union Election Commission told Mizzima on August 7.

“In the forthcoming by-elections, remote areas will be able to apply for an extension of ten to 15 days but not for 30 days, we will then review the application and grant permission,” he said.

The news comes after U Hla Maung Cho, deputy director of Union Election Commission said on August 4 that the body was considering extending the currently established period of one month’s campaigning.

Both the 2010 general election and the 2012 by-elections were held following a three month campaign but this period was reduced in the electoral directives released by the commission in May 2014.

A number of political parties who are attempting to apply pressure to amend the election rules told Mizzima on August 7 they had initially felt confident of their potential success after a meeting with the election commission held on August 6.

“At first they said they would extend the period to two months; when we met for a second time they said they would have to review the situation but they never mentioned we would need to apply for an extended campaign period,” U Tun Tun Hein, an executive committee of the National League for Democracy said in response to U Thaung Hlaing’s comments.

Salai Nge Pi, joint secretary of Chin National Democratic Party said in response; “we object to this decision, it is designed intentionally to make it difficult for parties to campaign.”

Link: http://www.mizzima.com/mizzima-news/politics/item/12092-by-election-campaigning-period-extension-only-available-for-regional-areas-says-election-official