The head of Myanmar’s election body asked parliament Friday to decide by the end of the year whether the country’s electoral system should be changed to one of proportional representation as proposed by some groups, saying an early decision would enable authorities to prepare ahead of the 2015 polls. Election Commission Chairman Tin Aye said basic rules for the upcoming general elections would be written by December, assuring that the polls would be “free and fair” unlike the 2010 elections held under military rule and which had been criticized by various groups. “I don’t want to have the bitter experience like that of the 2010 elections. I will make my commission members skillful and will educate the people ahead of the 2015 elections,” he said at a meeting with leaders of 36 political parties in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon.
But Tin Aye prodded parliament to make a decision quickly on whether the country should stick to the current “first-past-the-post” electoral system, under which candidates who receive the highest number of votes is elected, or replace it with the proportional representation system, in which the number of seats won by a party is proportional to the number of votes received.
“I can’t make a decision on the election system,” he said, responding to a question at the meeting from Than Than Nu, the secretary of the Democratic Party (Myanmar), on the proportionate representation system. “The parliament or the people have to decide on it.”