New amendment limits politics to Burmese citizens

New amendment limits politics to Burmese citizens

Burmese President Thein Sein on 30 September signed into law a second amendment to the Political Parties Registration Law stating that only Burmese citizens are allowed to form political parties.

Thein Hlaing, director-general of the Union Election Commission, said that, “The law previously provided that citizens, guest citizens, naturalized citizens and temporary ID card holders are allowed to form political parties, but according to the amendment only full citizens are now allowed to do so.”

Thaung Hlaing also noted that the Political Parties Registration bylaws will be rewritten in accordance with the new amendment.

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Rangoon-based Supreme Court lawyer Ko Ni questioned whether the new amendment will be comprehensive enough to cover all the various categories of citizen described in the 1982 Citizenship Law.

“There are various citizenship categories specified in the 1982 Citizenship Law, such as citizen by ethnicity, citizen by law, guest citizen, naturalised citizen and individuals who claim to be citizens,” he said. “Moreover, Article 120 of the Constitution divided citizens into two categories—those who are eligible to run for elections and those who aren’t. The article also distinguishes between citizens who are eligible to become president and those who aren’t.

“We are concerned about whether the new amendment signed by the president covers all these categories.”

The 2010 Political Parties Registration Law is based upon an existing law passed in 1989.

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