PR, FPTP or five other electoral systems: Shwe Mann

PR, FPTP or five other electoral systems: Shwe Mann

Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann has instructed his parliamentary commission to submit at least seven options for electoral systems that could be suitable to Burma.

His instructions to the 24-member commission came this week after the upper house of Burma’s parliament passed a proposal in June recommending that a system of proportional representation (PR) be adopted for future elections.

Debate was held in July in the House of Representatives, or lower house of parliament, over whether Burma should change from the present first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system to PR.

On 31 July, Shwe Mann formed a 24-member parliamentary commission to study the proposed change ahead of landmark elections in 2015.

The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party is known to support the move to a PR system, while the opposition National League for Democracy is vehemently against any change.

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Speaking to DVB on Friday, Commission Chairman Tin Maung Oo said, “There are more than 100 different election systems in the world. PR is just one of them. Older people generally support FTPT, while the young prefer a PR system. So, we the Commission have submitted a third option, which is half FPTP and half-PR.”

Tin Maung Oo called on Burma’s media to help explain the different election systems to the public.

“Our first priority is to inform the public about the various electoral systems,” he said. “Answer people’s questions: What is FTPT? What does it mean? Which countries use this system and why? What is proportional representation? What is its benefit?”

MP Khine Maung Yee said that everyone needs to make an informed choice on this matter.

“People don’t know much about this issue,” he said. “We need to conduct an educational campaign, supported by the government, NGOs and the international community.”

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