This year’s by-elections have been cancelled because the period for campaigning would take place too close to that of the general elections in 2015, Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC) Chairman Tin Aye announced on Sunday.
Addressing a gathering of political party representatives and civic leaders at the Myanmar Peace Centre in Rangoon, Tin Aye said that the by-elections, which were due to be held before the end of December, were unnecessary for two reasons: first, with general elections slated for next year, it would be asking many parties to finance and compete across the country in back-to-back elections, something many were unable to do. Second, he said, even if one party swept all or most of the seats in the by-election, it would not affect the overall make-up of parliament.
A total of 35 seats remain vacant in upper and houses, as well as state and divisional assemblies.
In October 2013, the UEC chairman made it known that he thought the state was too busy—and the seats in question too few—to consider holding by-elections ahead of the 2015 general election.
He pointed to Burma’s chairmanship of the ASEAN bloc, the country’s preparations for the SEA Games in December, and the logistics involved in conducting a census in 2014.
At the time of speaking, only 15 seats were waiting to be contested.
In an exclusive interview with DVB in March, Tin Aye said the next general election will be held in November or December 2015.
Last month, UEC Director Thaung Hlaing said that political parties could be dissolved if they do not compete for at least three seats in future elections, citing a 2012 amendment to the Political Registration Law.