Political parties could be dissolved if they do not compete for at least three seats in the upcoming national by-elections, said Election Commission (EC) Director Thaung Hlaing, citing a 2012 amendment to the Political Registration Law.
“In sections one and two under Article 16 of the Political Registration Law, any party which registers after the last general election must contest at least three seats. Failure to do so shall see its registration revoked,” he told DVB on Wednesday.
There are currently 66 registered political parties in Burma, 24 of which were verified since the 2012 amendment, the EC director said. Parties existing before 2012 – such as the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, the National Unity Party and Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy – are therefore exempt from the regulation.
Another exception to the rule applies to parties which are only registered at a state or division level and not nationwide, such as many of the ethnic parties.
“If a political party is registered nationwide, it must field candidates in at least three constituencies at the by-elections,” Thaung Hlaing said. “This does not apply to parties that have only applied to participate in one state or division unless there are more than three seats up for grabs in that particular region in the upcoming by-election.”
Kyaw Min, the chairman of the Democracy and Human Rights Party, said that although he knows they have to follow the registration law, the conditions are difficult for his party to fulfil.
“We want the by-elections to be free and fair whether we participate or not,” he said. “General elections come around every four or five years. That is when all parties should take part. Otherwise the political party has no meaning.”
Thirty-five seats will be up for grabs in by-elections due to be held before the end of the year.