Lower House rejects PR system

Lower House rejects PR system

The lower house of parliament decided on Friday that a  “first-past-the-post” (FPTP) voting system is best suited to Burma. The decision was made after Burma’s Constitutional Tribunal announced its opinion that all other electoral systems proposed by the Electoral System Review Commission—including proportional representation (PR)—were inconsistent with the Constitution.

Min Thu, a National League for Democracy (NLD) lower house MP, told DVB that after the tribunal issued its opinion the lower house debated the matter and decided to continue using the existing FPTP system.

“The [lower house] concluded that the seven other systems were not in accordance with the constitution, and that FPTP is the only compatible and appropriate system for Burma,” he said.

10 MPs participated in a debate on the voting system in the lower house on Friday morning, including Lt. Col. Maung Maung Aye, who expressed his support for continued use of the FPTP system. However, the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) generally supported a change to the PR system.

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The Electoral System Review Commission was established by Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann after various groups—especially the NLD and ethnic groups—objected to the upper house’s approval in June of a bill recommending that Burma change to a PR system.

The bill still has a chance of being enacted, however, as bills approved by the upper house but rejected by the lower house must be sent to the Union Parliament. If a majority of MPs in the Union Parliament vote in favour of the legislation it is then sent to the president, who can choose whether to sign the bill into law.

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