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Ward, village-tract administrative chiefs to be appointed by superiors

New Delhi (Mizzima) - The Burmese Lower House has approved a bill that stipulates the public will not elect ward and village-tract administrative office chiefs. Instead, they will be nominated by the Township administrative office and elected by street heads.
On August 29, the Home Affairs Ministry submitted the “Ward or Village-tract Administration Bill” to the Lower House Bill Committee.  On Friday, the Lower House approved the bill by a big majority, led by MPs from the Union Solidarity and Development Party.

A Burmese resident walks past a township administrative office. The ruling USDP party has passed a bill calling for village-tract and ward chiefs to be appointed rather than elected by residents. Photo: Mizzima 
Opposition MPs submitted proposals to modify the bill to allow residents to elect ward and village-tract office chiefs by a secret ballot. However, after Home Affairs Minister Lieutenant General Ko Ko objected to the motion, the bill was passed.
A total of 344 out of 385 MPs in the Lower House voted against the motion to modify the bill.
MP Thein Nyunt of the New National Democracy Party (NNDP) said that the system in which ward and village-tract administrative office chiefs are nominated by superior authorities without a public vote reflected current Burmese politics.

“To decide whether our country is a strong or weak democracy, it will depend on whether people are elected or appointed by superior authorities,” he said.
Earlier, some members of the government said village-tract administrative office chiefs should be elected or selected after public input.
Nyan Tun Oo, the minister for Electric Power and Industry of Rangoon Region, told reporters in May that ward and village-tract administrative office chiefs must not be a member of a political party and before appointing a ward or village-tract chief, the authorities should consult with the leaders of the relevant wards or village-tracts.
“The people can make a list of eligible voters in the coming elections. So, they can have an influence on the elections,” said Kyi Myint, an MP from the NNDP.
The bill approved by the Lower House set the terms for village-tract and ward chiefs the same as the term of Parliament. A person can be appointed for a maximum of three terms.
The bill will now go to the Upper House and if it approves the bill, it will be sent to President Thein Sein. The president must sign the bill within 14 days and then it will go into effect.

If the Upper House opposes the bill, it could be discussed in a joint parliamentary session.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 20 September 2011 22:31 )  

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