Election Commission Requests 10 Billion Kyats Budget

By San Yamin Aung 1 February 2017

RANGOON — Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC) has requested more than 10 billion kyats (US$7.4 million) from Parliament for election-related expenditures in the upcoming 2017-18 fiscal year, which will start April 1.

U Soe Reh, a member of the electoral body, presented the proposal to the Union Parliament on Tuesday.

The commission requested a total annual budget of 10.85 billion kyats ($8 million), of which 2.2 billion ($1.6 million) will be allocated for conducting by-elections.

Another 7.2 billion kyats ($5.3 million) would be allocated to operations in sub-commissions across the country; 1.2 billion kyats ($0.9 million) would be spent to build new commission offices in 38 townships; and 64.5 million kyats ($48,000) would be spent on vehicle repairs, explained U Soe Reh.

On Wednesday, the UEC published voter lists for the by-elections slated for April 1. The lists will remain on display from Feb. 1-14. A total of 95 candidates, including 24 political parties and 7 independent candidates, will compete in the upcoming polls.

The by-elections will take place in Rangoon, Sagaing and Bago divisions, as well as in Shan, Karenni, Mon, Chin and Arakan states, in order to fill 19 vacant positions.

“About 2.2 billion kyats that we requested would potentially be spent on by-elections in the 2017-18 fiscal year, if the Parliament decides those are necessary. But this money is not for the upcoming by-election on April 1, 2017,” UEC director general U Tin Tun told The Irrawaddy.

An amendment to Burma’s election law mandates that the Union Election Commission (UEC) organize by-elections within six months once the chamber’s speaker informs lawmakers of a seat opening.

On Tuesday, U Soe Reh told lawmakers that the commission has requested a smaller budget compared to the previous 2016-17 fiscal year. The previous UEC budget totaled 15.3 billion kyats ($11.3 million) and was approved under the previous government.