Yangon Sets Date For Municipal Elections

By Thazin Hlaing 18 January 2019

YANGON — Municipal elections will be held in Yangon on March 31, according to the city’s Municipal Election Commission.

The elections will be held under the new Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) Law, which came into effect on June 28 and supplements the 2013 Municipal Law.

There will be a total of 105 seats up for grabs, 99 at the township level — three seats each in 33 townships — and six for the YCDC’s executive board, U Aung Khine, chairman of the Municipal Election Commission, told reporters on Wednesday.

The YCDC’s executive board initially consisted of nine members — the mayor, four appointed members and four elected individuals — but has been expanded to add two more elected positions.

One of the six elected members will become the vice mayor, a post created by the new law to ease the workload of the mayor of Myanmar’s largest city and commercial capital.

Candidates are to submit applications to contest the elections from Jan. 18 to 28, said U Aung Khine. Candidates for township-level positions are allowed to spend up to 10 million kyats ($6,519) while those running for the executive board may spend twice that, he added.

The list of qualified candidates will be announced in the second week of February. According to eligibility criteria, candidates must have been born to Myanmar citizens, must be more than 25 years old, must have lived for three consecutive years in the township they intend to represent, must not owe taxes to the YCDC, and must be loyal to the country.

Myanmar Army personnel and their family members who live in cantonments, as well as police and their family members who live in police staff quarters, are barred from casting votes in the election, according to the Municipal Election Commission.

Yangon saw its first-ever municipal elections in December 2014.

One month after the National League for Democracy took office in April 2016, the Yangon mayor announced that the YCDC by-laws had been amended so that the elected members’ terms coincided with the government’s.

The Yangon chief minister then sent notices of dismissal to the sitting elected members, who had assumed they would serve until the next election.

The new YCDC Law, unlike its previous version, allows for the replacement and recall of appointed and elected members.

According to the new law, the term of the committee coincides with that of the president, and municipal elections must be held within three months of a new government taking office.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.