Myanmar ElectionThe Myanmar Election
Does Myanmar use the best electoral system?
One of my first suggestions, if I were to advise the Union Solidarity and Development Party how it should react to the results of the by-elections on 1 April, would be to scrutinise the Myanmar election system. While the USDP won around 27% of the vote, it only won one of the 45 available places.
She was voted a little over 50 times eighteen month ago, but occupied almost 80 places. Such differences are not uncommon in the first round of the vote, in which the nominee is voted the victor by a single majoritarian vote - the most. However, first paste the mail reviewers have argued that it can result in unacceptable overall results and unjustly favour large political groups.
There are other election regimes that are widespread in many jurisdictions, among them the right to choose by way of preferences and proportionality. In proportionate ballot, the political groups are allocated a seat equal to their share of the ballot. Under a system of preferences, the electorate must classify the nominees in the order of their preferences. Applicants who receive the smallest number of ballots shall be removed and their ballots allocated to the second voter group.
That goes on until only two contestants are remaining and the one with the highest number of voters is proclaimed the first one. A number of states use a mix of systems: at the country stage, Australia uses special ballots for its lower chamber and proportionate elections to elect senior statesmen.
New Zealand acted in 1996 with the right to vote by pro rata numbers for joint members, with half of the places being allocated on the basis of the first vote and the rest on the basis of the share of the vote for each team. New Zealand was transformed from a two-party system into eight-partisan parliamentarians in the last parliamentary elections in 2011.
It has never been clear why Myanmar chose to take the first pass ballot, although it has some benefits, especially ease of ballot and census. Of course, this will help in a land where most of us have little knowledge of both, and any move towards a more sophisticated system would involve considerable investments in the Union Electoral Commission's own formation and in that of the general population.
However, election reforms would have many benefits, even at this early stages of Myanmar's democracy evolution. The USDP, together with small political groups, would probably have the most to win on the basis of the results of the by-elections. Rather than win a place on April 1, the USDP would have scored 12 points in the election (admittedly the system is a little more complicated).
Electoral processes are generally more prestigious and even have an electoral component of proportionality or choice. The Commission would be encouraging smaller and unsuccessful factions to remain in the poll. Preferred ballots could also have other advantages for the evolution of our policy-making. The electorate is obliged to think more carefully about their votes and to evaluate the nominees from the first to the last preferences, instead of just placing a hook on their favorite one.
This also means that voices are not "wasted" when you elect a political group that has little prospect of victory; in the end, your voice goes to one of the last two contestants to stand after the departure of those with the fewest of them. This system would probably be an encouragement to evaluate the merit of all of our candidate countries and political groups in a world where many seem to choose on an ethical or worship basis.
This is an example, considering the impact of the primary elections on the April 1 by-elections in the Amyotha Hluttaw area around Lashio. Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, with 29. The NLD led by 11 voices. The Lahu National Development Party and the Kokang Democracy and Unity Party, two smaller ethnical political groups, were awarded 3. 09pc and 10.
97% of the voting. Their second, third and forth preference would probably have determined the result of the voting and again encourage the bigger party nominees to win their back. However, Myanmar would profit from election reforms in a different way: in the run-up to the 2015 elections.
With few now discussing it frankly, the prospects of a huge NLD victory in the next parliamentary elections, perhaps at 1990 levels, could have a significant impact on the progress of the main players in Myanmar in 2014-15. It is very likely that political groups and nominees in this House are biased and divided as they try to distinguish themselves and their politics before the poll.
This insecurity will also make it more tempting to use filthy tactics in the parliamentary elections. Let us be honest: despite the present huttaw, a parliamentary assembly ruled by members of a political group is not sound for it. In view of Myanmar's problems with capacities and the extent of the reforms, both legislature and administration would profit from the greater pluralism that election reforms will entail.
There is only one single political group that can rule the state on its own, and it is not the NLD. Whereas other nations often introduced election reforms in a referenda - most recently Great Britain - Myanmar would not necessarily have to go down this path.
The first election is not anchored in the Basic Law, but in the electoral legislation of the State Committee for Peace and Development of March 2010. The reform of the electoral system to make it fairer and more representational is in the interests of all, from political groups and leaders to each elector.