EC chairman urges all political parties to oppose Western sanctions
Union Election Commission (UEC) chairman Tin Aye urged all 37 registered political parties to take part in working for the lifting of …
Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Union Election Commission (UEC) chairman Tin Aye urged all 37 registered political parties to take part in working for the lifting of sanctions imposed on Burma by foreign countries at a meeting held in Naypyitaw on Wednesday.
He said that the sanctions did not have an impact on the government and its business associates but they harmed common people, said Democratic Party (Myanmar) (DPM) chairman Thu Wei.
“These sanctions are hurdles and obstacles to the economic development of the country. Western countries imposed these sanctions. Some said that it affected government and businessmen only. It’s not true,” Thu Wei said.
The UEC chairman told the political parties to follow the electoral laws and rules enacted in early March 2010. He said political parties would be dissolved if they accept members of exile-based unlawful associations.
Each political party delegate was allowed two minutes to comment during the meeting. In the presentations, a Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) delegate proposed that ethnic party representatives be involved in peace talks with armed ethnic groups that are fighting government troops, Rakhine Nationality Development Party (RNDP) Chairman Dr. Aye Maung said.
“He proposed the inclusion of all ethnic parties in these peace talks but the UEC chairman said that the election commission could not do it and told them to present the issue to Parliament,” he said. The proposal was endorsed by ethnic parties of the Chin, Inn, Phalon Sawaw and Rakhine.
He said the commission chairman told the delegates about his military career, joining the army when he was 18, and he told them not to drive wedges and sow dissension in the armed forces.
“He said in general that the armed conflicts were being handled in accordance with the Constitution, but they want peace too. They have the will to restore peace but only in negotiations, and the 2008 Constitution clearly stipulates there must be a sole army in the country,” Aye Maung said.
Former Lieutenant General Tin Aye served as chairman of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (MEHL), whose resources went toward funding the army during the rule of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). He is also a member of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). He became chairman of the UEC on February 17 after being nominated by President Thein Sein.
Aye Maung suggested that more meetings be held and delegates should have more time to present their views.
The 10-party Friends of Democracy presented a paper to the UEC which discussed weaknesses and rampant vote rigging in the past election. This group includes the NDF, Democracy and Peace Party, Union Democracy Party and ethnic political parties representing Karen, Shan, Mon, Chin and Rakhine.
“In our joint paper we said the electoral laws and rules in the last general election were violated. We urged them to avoid these malpractices and to remedy them. And we urged them not to take absentee votes and to conduct vote counting only in the presence of the vote observers. He said that he had already read the paper and promised to make changes,” Aye Maung said.
Domestic private media were not allowed to cover the meeting, but state-run media were present. Delegates said that private media should also be allowed to attend.
The UEC said nothing about the date of the upcoming by-election and constituencies, Thu Wei said.
Delegates from 36 parties attended the meeting. The Union Democracy Party led by Thein Tin Aung was not present.
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