Ethnic Mon Party Objects to Domestic Migrants Voting in Host Constituencies

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Mon Unity Party (MUP) has objected to the Union Election Commission’s (UEC) by-law allowing domestic migrants to vote in host constituencies if they have been residents there for 90 days.

MUP released a statement on Saturday saying that the move could lead to questions about whether the elected candidates would truly represent the constituency in question. The concern, the party said, is that large communities of migrants from elsewhere in Burma would vote, but not live long-term under the representation of the official they elect in the area.

“Domestic migrants have their own representatives in their native areas. I think they don’t have the right to elect a candidate in a host constituency because they are staying temporarily in the constituency,” Nai San Tin, who is the Joint Secretary 2 of MUP, told NMG.

According to the UEC’s by-law, Article 10, domestic migrants will be allowed to vote in their place of work. Previously, they had to be a resident there for 180 days—as of October 3, this time period has been cut in half.

Nai San Tin also pointed out that the migrants would not receive proper representation in the future if they were to vote in a place where they are based only temporarily.

“I think domestic migrants have the right to vote for their candidate in their native area—the candidate would really represent them. It would be the best way for them. The candidate wouldn’t represent them if they vote for them in their host constituencies,” he told NMG.

MUP said that the UEC should implement an advance voting system for domestic migrants in the country so that they do not lose the chance to vote in their home constituencies.

For Burma’s 2020 election to be considered free and fair, deputy speaker of the Mon State parliament Dr. Aung Naing Oo, said that respective officials need to reconsider the recent amendment to the law concerning domestic migrants’ voting rights.

It is an issue that MUP has raised in the past with the UEC, and Nai San Tin said that it is becoming more urgent.

In Kachin State, the Kachin National Congress (KNC) also recently released a statement objecting to the amendment of UEC’s election by-law. Other ethnic political parties have also voiced opposition to it.