Election 2020

Myanmar’s NLD MPs Can Scrutinize NLD Governments: Party Deputy

By Thiha Lwin 3 December 2020

Naypyitaw — Although the National League for Democracy (NLD) won all the parliamentary seats not reserved for the military in five of Myanmar’s regions, there will still be checks on regional governments, according to the party’s vice-chairman, Dr. Zaw Myint Maung.

The NLD won all the available seats in Mandalay, Bago, Magwe, Ayeyarwady and Tanintharyi regions. However, 25 percent of all parliamentary seats are reserved for the armed forces under the military-drafted 2008 Constitution.

When asked at a press conference in Mandalay if a parliament without any elected opposition could properly scrutinize an administration, Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, who is also Mandalay Region’s chief minister, said there will be proper checks and balances.

“Even if the parliaments are made up of a single party, they will still be able to exercise checks and balances. For the time being, we are focusing our efforts [on appointments to ensure scrutiny]. I want legislatures to focus on their primary duty: legislation,” he said.

As many laws need to be amended, the fact that both legislatures and the governments are from the same party will reduce the friction seen in previous parliaments, said Dr. Zaw Myint Maung.

“We have taken a lesson from Kayah State. I don’t want legislatures to think they can overthrow the government. They should only think about how to cooperate for their regions or states and the country,” he said, citing Kayah State parliament’s impeachment of the state’s former chief minister, L Phaung Sho, for misusing public funds.

Myanmar’s military spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun told the media in late November that military appointees would not act as a parliamentary opposition as they did not constitute a political party, but only focus on safeguarding the 2008 Constitution and making constructive suggestions. Military representatives can veto any attempts at constitutional change.

Political analysts view the Kayah State parliament’s impeachment of the chief minister and Yangon regional parliament’s exposure of the authorities’ 2016-17 financial mismanagement as examples of parliamentary scrutiny.

In last month’s election, the NLD won 920 of 1,117 contested seats, obtaining a majority to form the next government. The USDP won 71 seats, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy won 42 seats and the Arakan National Party won 15 seats.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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