The Union Election Commission (UEC) rejected a request to postpone the upcoming elections due to the new wave of COVID-19 infections. The request was brought by a group of opposition parties led by the Union Solidarity and Development Party, the chief rival of the ruling National League for Democracy. The group claimed that polling was a risk to the health and safety of voters, many of whom could be infected with the coronavirus without showing symptoms, reported the Daily Independent.
Nevertheless, the UEC announced that, for the moment, the date for polling would remain November 8th. However, Yangon Region UEC chair U Kyi Myint told the Myanmar Times that his region would consider adding an additional 600 polling stations to avoid large gatherings. The UEC is also developing alternative voting methods, the Myanmar Times report continued, and many candidates are using their own funding to provide masks, gloves and other hygiene supplies to voters at the polls. These costs will not count against UEC limits on campaign spending.
The new wave of COVID-19 infections and social distancing measures are not to the favor of USDP and other opposition parties, which would otherwise seek to win new support for their candidates through in-person rallies and other campaign events.