Ethnic Political Parties Call for UEC to be Reformed

Monday, October 26, 2020

Representatives of ethnic political parties have said that they want Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC) to be reformed, alleging that the commission is biased in favor of the current government.

The UEC was appointed by the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) administration, which contributes to the bias, the parties’ leaders say.

“I think people in the UEC should be made up of respected people agreed upon by all parties. In 1990, people in the UEC were respected people and had no bias. We want this kind of UEC,” Gumgrawng Awng Hkam, Vice Chairperson 2 of the Kachin State People’s Party, told NMG. “They should be agreed upon by all stakeholders. It would be better,” he added.

The comments come just weeks before Burma’s general election, scheduled for November 8.

Chair of the Ta’ang National Party, Nyi Sein, said that the reformation of the UEC would promote a fairer election

“The UEC is formed with people who favor the NLD party. What we want is that the UEC is formed of people who are elected by all parties. Then we would see a free and fair election,” he said.

Sai Kyaw Nyunt, joint general secretary of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, also pointed to a perceived favoritism in the UEC toward the NLD when interviewed by NMG on the subject on August 15.

“Frankly, they were appointed by the government,” he said. “I do not see that they do not have bias. They are weak. They seem to have bias.”

On October 16, the UEC announced the cancelation of Burma’s general election in multiple constituencies in ethnic regions: including six townships, eight wards and 129 village tracts in Shan State, and nine townships, 15 wards and 137 village tracts in Rakhine State. Voting is also canceled in 52 village tracts throughout six townships in Karen State, 192 village tracts in 11 Kachin State townships, 42 village tracts in Bago Region, and one village tract in Mon State.

Ethnic political parties in particular have spoken out against the UEC’s cancelation of the election in these locations, as many were predicted to be ethnic strongholds.