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A bid by Burma’s first all-female party to register for the upcoming general election has been rejected by the Union Election Commission (UEC) on the basis that its name, the Women’s Party, is too general.
Mi Than Shin, the leader of the Mon State-based party, told DVB that the UEC suggested they expand the party’s name.
“The UEC said they won’t allow names such as ‘Women’s Party’ or ‘Men’s Party’, and suggested that we add an extra word before or after Women’s Party in the title, otherwise it won’t be approved,” she said.
UEC Director-General Hla Maung Cho said that the word ‘women’ alone is too broad, and could lead to the false impression that the party represents all women in Burma.
“We told them to seek permission [for party formation] again, with a different name – preferably with an extra word before or after the ‘Women’s Party’. Otherwise, if we approve the name as it is, we will also have to approve ‘Men’s Party’ which could give the wrong impression that we are discriminating between men and women,” said Hla Maung Cho.
Mi Than Shin said the founders are now considering changing the party’s name to Women’s Party – Mon.
The Women’s Party first issued their submission to the UEC requesting party formation in October 2014.
A total of 73 political parties are eligible to compete in the upcoming general election slated for the end of this year, with 14 pending approval as the deadline for party registration passed on 30 April.
In Burma’s 2010 national elections, women accounted for less than 4 percent of the candidates, and make up just 5 percent of members of the upper and lower houses of parliament.