‘National race representatives’ still in limbo

‘National race representatives’ still in limbo

The Union Election Commission (UEC) has begun preparations for appointing ‘national race representatives’, pending further details from the Ministry of Immigration.

The 2008 Constitution entitles recognised ethnic groups “with a suitable population” outside their own state or self-administrative area to a representative in state or regional parliament.

In order to qualify for a representative, an ethnic group must have at least 50,000 members residing in the relevant state or region. Once the proper population requirements have been met, the elected state government then appoints a National Race Representative for the ethnic group.

Speaking in Naypyidaw on Wednesday, UEC Chairman Tin Aye said that the commission had finished drawing up the constituencies, but still required details regarding the number of ethnic groups and their populations before determining which groups may be entitled to a representative.

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Given that the results of the 2014 nationwide census – widely criticised as non-inclusive of all Burmese ethnicitiesrevealed last month that 917 different ethnic groups exist in Burma, the UEC said they need more information about these groups before appointing any national race representatives.

“The immigration officials must respond to us whether constituencies for national races should be designated based on the list of 135 ethnic groups in the 1984 census or the new list,” said Tin Aye.

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