Friday, January 21, 2011

Chin party urges election of ethnic Vice Presidents

Friday, 21 January 2011 13:22 Tun Tun

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Chin National Party (CNP) has urged members of Parliament to elect and appoint ethnic party members to the posts of vice-chairman and chief ministers of regions and states.

The CNP referred to a joint statement issued on January 16 along with the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP), the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), the All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMRDP) and the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party, which appealed to elect ethnic members to high posts in the new government.

‘We released this statement to draw attention to what our ethnic people want to see in the newly formed government. Since this is a multi-party democratic system, it will not be good for the country’s future if the winning party takes all’, CNP party chairman Zo Sam told Mizzima.

‘We have had many bitter experiences and a lot of resentment in the past, and we must make sure that these type of experiences don’t resurface in Burmese politics’, he said.

‘Mutual trust and understanding was first built on the Panglong Agreement which demanded independence from the British colonial masters simultaneously. It would be unfair to exclude ethnic people in the affairs of the entire Union’, SNDP spokesman Sai Saung Si told Mizzima.

The statement also appealed to elected MPs to appoint and elect ethnic members to the posts of speakers and deputy speakers of the state assemblies and in ministerial posts in local governments.

According to the 2008 Constitution, the House of People, (lower house) and the House of Nationalities (upper house) and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces will pick three vice president nominees. Then MPs will elect a president from among the three nominees and the remaining two will automatically become vice presidents.

The president will appoint the chief minister posts in local governments with the approval of the local assemblies. However, the speaker and deputy speaker of each local assembly will be elected directly by representatives of the assemblies.

According to the Constitution, during an emergency period the governing body would be the National Defence and Security Council comprised of the president, two vice presidents, the speakers of both houses, the commander-in-chief, the vice commander-in-chief and the ministers of defence, foreign affairs and home and border affairs.

If ethnic MPs were elected as vice presidents, they would automatically be included in the powerful council.

‘After president, the vice presidents will be the most powerful persons in this republic system. So this will reflect the image of our ethnic people. The degree of importance of these posts will depend on their executive power’, said spokesman Sai Saung Si.

Five ethnic parties won a total of 34 seats in House of the People and 19 seats in the House of Nationalities in the Parliament.

Out of total of 440 MPs in the House of the People, or lower house, 110 reserved seats will be filled by MPs appointed by the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the rest of the members, 330, will be elected MPs. Out of a total of 224 seats in the House of Nationalities, or upper house, 56 reserved seats will be appointed by the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

The junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won 59 percent of the elected seats in the House of the People and 57 percent in the House of Nationalities, giving it majority control of both houses.

The military regime announced all three legislatures of the lower house, upper house and local assemblies would be convened simultaneously on January 31 at 8:55 a.m.

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