'Right to Recall' bill moves ahead

'Right to Recall' bill moves ahead

The bicameral Union Parliament will begin discussion on the controversial ‘Right to Recall’ bill now that the 12th parliamentary session has resumed, according to House Speaker Shwe Mann, who tasked the parliamentary Joint Bill Committee with adjudicating the proposal.

The Committee has until the 20 August to submit its report on the bill, which was drafted and put forward by the Union Election Commission. If passed, the Right to Recall law could result in Shwe Mann’s own impeachment.

“I acknowledge that a complaint, using a clause in the constitution, has been lodged against me, the speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw [House of Representatives], while I am currently serving as speaker for the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw [bicameral assembly],” Shwe Mann said in parliament on Tuesday. “Therefore, I am notifying various political party representatives in the parliament chambers to discuss this with the Joint Bill Committee at the end of today’s session.

“The Joint Bill Committee is to present its analysis to the parliament … no later than 20 August 2015.”

Under the proposed bill, if one percent of constituents sign a petition and the electoral commission finds their complaint justified, their member of parliament can be recalled.

Shwe Mann faces a petition from his own constituents in Naypyidaw for supporting a bill in parliament to reduce the military’s political power.

On Tuesday, National League of Democracy (NLD) opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi spoke out against the bill at a press conference in Naypyidaw. Suu Kyi stated that her party would not support the bill, calling the motion that only percent of constituents be empowered to dismiss an MP “ridiculous”.

“In Sagaing Township, our representative won by 93 percent in 2012. Now one percent has the right to recall? It’s ridiculous. We’ve said that at least 20 percent is what is necessary, and we’ve asked for a change to this law,” the opposition leader said in English in response to a reporter’s question.

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The Union Election Committee has reached out to the parliament four times in the years since 2012 to discuss such a bill.

Burma’s electoral commission sent a letter to Shwe Mann on Thursday, 13 August, which featured prominently in state media, requesting he table a vote on the bill.

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