Myanmar Army Chief Floats The Idea Of Having A New Electoral System

Recently, Myanmar’s army chief said he was considering changing the country’s electoral system from the existing majoritarian model to Proportional Representation (PR).
Myanmar’s military-drafted 2008 Constitution, Myanmar currently uses First Past the Post (FPTP), a system in which the candidate who receives the most votes wins the parliamentary seat. He made the comments during a meeting with his military council on February 1.
In her speech, Min Aung Hlaing said the PR system would be “all-inclusive” and better represent constituents’ voices.
All participants need to be aware of the Proportional Representation-PR-system. It is necessary to amend the way representatives are elected and the electoral system. Aung Hlaing said that his government will implement these changes with the help of all stakeholders during his tenure.
The military council has expressed its preference for the system before, and critics suspect it will be designed to benefit them rather than the diversity which the army has long sought to subjugate.
In the month following the coup, the chair of the junta-appointed election commission asked political parties for their input on replacing the existing electoral system with one based on proportional representation. The request came after military-backed parties demanded a change at a meeting boycotted by the country’s other major parties.
Aung Kyaw Zan, an ethnic Rakhine politician, told the media that PR would be difficult to implement in the current political climate. In his view, PR is not a practice accommodated by the 2008 Constitution, which is still adhered to by the coup regime. However, the charter was abolished by the National Unity Government, a body composed of elected MPs who could not take their seats in parliament after the coup.
The Constitution was not drafted with PR in mind, but with FPTP, which allows the winner to take all. Aung Kyaw Zan says it is unclear whether the electoral system should be amended or replaced after the charter is repealed.
“[Any changes] should be in line with what the public wants. Political parties representing the public should discuss the issue together, adding that all political parties in the country should be able to participate.
The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) said in a press conference in Naypyitaw in September 2019 that it would push for a change in the voting system in parliament if it won the majority of seats in the 2020 election, which it did not.
USDP secured only 33 seats across both legislative houses in 2020, a humiliating defeat. The military and its party allies accused the National League for Democracy (NLD) of electoral fraud, despite neither local nor international observers finding evidence of this.

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