Rail, Road & Other Transport

Parliament asks Public for Input on Right to Recall Bill

Date: 18 February 2019; Type: Legal News; Source: Myanmar Times

The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (bicameral legislature) has asked people to read the proposed Right to Recall Bill drafted by the Union Election Commission, which would give voters the power to unseat their representatives in parliament.

Under the proposed law, at least one percent of voters from a constituency would have to sign a complaint against an MP for the process to move forward.

The provision has stirred controversy in parliament as some MPs noted the provision would make it easy to recall duly elected representatives.

The bill specifies that a recall can only be done for reasons of high treason, breach of any provision of the Constitution, misbehaviour, disqualification prescribed in the Constitution for representatives, and inefficient discharge of duties.

MPs can only be removed by a vote of a majority of voters in a constituency.

“I welcome this law. Only then will hluttaw representatives respect the voters as well as the duties of an MP,” said U Myo Nyunt, spokesperson of the ruling National League for Democracy.

The bill stipulates that once there is a verified complaint by at least one percent of constituents, the election commission will organise an investigation team.

The team will have to find out whether complainants are forced or threatened or if there were any special interests involved in the complaint.

The MP would be given an opportunity to refute the charges.

MPs who are recalled would not be allowed to contest in the next elections.

“An MP who is doing his or her work diligently doesn’t need to worry about this law,” said MP Daw Khin San Hlaing, who has been elected to two terms in parliament.

However, she said, some flaws in the bill will need to be discussed in parliament.

The bill states that a person who submits a false claim will be face legal action.

A similar bill was submitted to parliament in 2012 during the administration of U Thein Sein but was only discussed in 2015.

At that time, some members of military families sought to remove then-Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) Thura U Shwe Mann. However, the attempt failed because there was no recall law yet.

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