Ethnic Burman Army Officers Appointed to Chin State Parliament
24 January 2011: All six slots of the Chin State parliamentary seats reserved for the military under the 2008 constitution have been filled with army officers of Burman ethnicity, much to the disappointment of the people of Chin State.
The state-run New Light of Myanmar on Friday published the names of army appointees that will take the 25 per cent seats reserved for the military in the two houses of national parliament, as well as state and regional legislatures.
The six appointees to the Chin State Parliament are Colonel Zaw Min Oo, Major Thet Lwin, Major Nyi Nyi Oo, Captain Kyaw Zin Maung, Captain Maung Maung Thwin and Captain Aung Zaw Htet.
The announcement came as a disappointment to the Chin political parties, which had hoped that the SPDC would at least appoint ethnic Chins from within the ranks of the Burma Army, whom they could work with in the Parliament on issues of common interest to the Chins.
Only 18 out of the 24 State legislative seats were contestable on the November 7, 2010 elections. Of these the Chin National Party (CNP) and the Chin Progressive Party (CPP) won five seats each, while the Ethnic National Development Party (ENDP) won one seat.
The junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won only seven contested seats amidst allegations of widespread fraud and voter intimidation. However, the 25 percent seats reserved for the military under the 2008 constitution, gives an alliance of the USDP and the military a solid majority in the Chin State legislature, and the right to form the State Government.
“This results from the structural flaw inherent in the 2008 constitution,” said Dr. Lian Sakhong, Chairman of the Chin National Council (CNC), a broad alliance of Chin organizations based in exile. “The fact that the 2008 constitution allows for the appointment of ethnic Burmans to the Chin State Legislature just shows how the Chins cannot have the right to self-determination under the military’s constitutional arrangement,” said Sakhong.