Lower House Adjourns Last Pre-Vote Session

By Zarni Mann 27 August 2015

Union Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann announced on Thursday that the legislature’s Lower House would adjourn until after Burma’s Nov. 8 general election.

The speaker said the full Lower House would not convene again until after the much-anticipated poll, while some parliamentary committees would continue to meet.

“The term of the current Parliament runs until Jan. 31, 2016, and the lawmakers of this Lower House still have a responsibility to participate in meetings, and to listen and work for the people until then,” said Shwe Mann, as he bid farewell to lawmakers in Naypyidaw.

The lower chamber has had a productive session, bringing 96 draft laws to the floor and passing 80 bills for consideration by the Upper House, leaving only 16 pieces of legislation—including a national budget bill—on the table pending further discussion.

In calling the session to a close, Shwe Mann urged parliamentarians to do their part ensure that a free and fair election takes place in November.

“Lawmakers should also work for a free, fair and transparent election, as well as the stability of the country—before, after and during the election. If not, the country’s democratization will be affected and the people will be the one who suffer the most,” he said.

A lawmaker from the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), who asked not to be named, said one more session of the sitting Parliament would likely be called following the November election.

“After the election and before convening the new Parliament with newly elected lawmakers, there will be another session of Parliament to enact important laws,” he told The Irrawaddy.

The Union Election Commission (UEC) has said that the official election campaign season will run from Sept. 8 to Nov. 6.

The Union Parliament, the joint session of the legislature’s upper and lower chambers, is also expected to adjourn this week.

Parliament’s last pre-election session opened on Aug. 18, less than a week after Shwe Mann was unceremoniously dumped from the chairmanship of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

Parliament went on to discuss but defer a proposed bill on impeachment of sitting lawmakers—legislation that had direct implications for the speaker—and passed two controversial laws on marriage and religious conversion.

On Aug. 19, the Upper House called quits on its session until after the election, citing lawmakers’ desire to return to their constituencies to assist in flood relief efforts and prepare for the upcoming election.