Views on the military council’s shift to the PR system
The military council which staged a coup by deposing the civilian government citing electoral frauds in the 2020 Election is preparing to hold the election in 2023. The military-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC) is trying to shift to the Proportional Representation (PR) system from the First Past the Post (FPTP) electoral system exercised in 2010, 2015 and 2020 elections.
The Development Media Group (DMG) compiled the list of views of ethnic parties in Arakan State on the military council’s planned election and asked them whether they will participate in the election or not.
U Aye Tun, Mro National Party
Our party will monitor the steps taken by the big parties in Arakan State as our party is small. Our party will not contest the election if big political parties skip the election. Our party will compete in the election if the big political parties like the Arakan Front Party (AFP), the Arakan National Party (ANP) and the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) compete in the election. Our party needs to monitor regional peace and stability in the future. The election can be held freely if the State sees regional peace and stability. We will contest the election if the both sides which have made a ceasefire don’t disrupt the election. Currently, we are monitoring the activities of big parties. We have no hope in the PR system compared to the previous election system. For instance, our races are living in the northern areas of Buthidaung and Maungdaw. Our race is a minority. We have a lower number of populations when the populations in southern and northern areas are calculated proportionally. I think our race will not take in the number and ratio fixed by the military council. We have no hope in the shift to the PR system.
U Aung Kyaw Zaw, Chair of Daingnet National Development Party
It is too early to say whether our party will contest the election or not. I don’t know what they (military council) will do. However, I have heard the bad news. It is early to say as our party is small. They (military council) plan to shift the election system as it wants to hold the election. I think they (military council) will hold the election whether we agree to it or not. In my view, our ethnic groups have no rights although the election is held under the PR system. They (military council) will form the districts across the country. There are big parties in the districts. The parties will get at most 5,000 votes in the district. I think ethnic groups are not good. First I thought the PR system is good. In my view, the PR system doesn’t take in our races.
U Than Htay, Secretary-2 of Khami National Development Party
Our party is a local-based party. The political landscape in Arakan State is different from the political landscape in regions and states. So, we are monitoring the political situation in Arakan State. At present, the AFP said it would compete in the election. However, the AFP has yet to officially release it. The USDP will surely contest the election. The main point is we need to monitor the ANP’s activities and peace and stability in Arakan State. The ceasefire remains in force. We will contest the election if the ANP contests the election. As I mentioned earlier, our party cannot cover the union as our party is an ethnic party. We will act on it based on the local situation.
U Tin Ngwe, Vice Chair of Kaman National Development Party
I can say whether our party will contest the election or not only after making a decision at a meeting. Our party will call a coordination meeting in the next month to discuss the current political situations. Our party has not decided whether our party will compete in the election or not. We need to monitor the election system. There is no reason for the emergence of separate rights for our race although the election is held under the PR system. At present, our race has a lower number of populations. The shift to the PR system will not bring any significant change to races.
Sent by DMG