The National Democratic Force (NDF) party has said that its proposal to adopt a proportional representation (PR) system was only meant for majority Burman-populated divisions and not ethnic states.
The proposal, submitted to Burma’s upper house of parliament two weeks ago by NDF MP Khin Waing Kyi, was passed by standing vote, with 177 MPs in support, 85 against and three abstaining.
Following approval of the bill by the upper house, the proposal has been tabled for the lower house.
However, now the NDF – a splinter faction of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy – has announced that it did not intend for the PR debate to be applied to ethnic regions where it has been met with widespread opposition by smaller parties and ethnic nationalist groups.
The NDF on 23 June released a statement clarifying its recommendation: that a PR system only be adopted in the seven administrative divisions.
“We do not wish to have a political system dominated by a single majority party,” said NDF leader Khin Maung Swe. “At the moment, the USDP is dominating parliament and we never see them working steadfastly to adopt laws and policies beneficial to the public.
“We believe that a PR system will stop a major party from single-handedly dominating the parliament and will give every party an equal opportunity to take up legislative seats and help facilitate reforms.”
The NDF statement said that Khin Waing Kyi, the MP who submitted the PR proposal, has received threats by telephone and was mocked by fellow MPs in parliament.
The party has now submitted the same bill, recommending the adoption of a PR system, to the lower house, but a decision on when the house will debate the bill has not yet been released.