Burma’s Prime Minister, Thein Sein resigned from his post, to register a new political party to run in the upcoming elections this year. Burma’s State media reported that Thein Sein and 26 members of his party applied for the registration of the Union Solidarity and Development Party ( USDP) with the electoral commission on Thursday. Critics of the military junta, say that the prime minister’s new party registration is another form of guaranteeing a greater military presence in Burma’s future government.
Burma’s Military and the Elections
Under Burma’s new constitution, the military is given a fixed amount of seats – 25% of seats- in parliament. The rest are allocated to the civilian candidates. Since Thein Sein has applied as a new party candidate and retired from his army post, he is able to run for office as a civilian.
Analysts of Burma say that the military is trying to retain their control and power by having a pro- military party standing in civilian clothing and sitting in seats given to civlians.
Around the world, people have criticized the Burmese elections. The NLD, ( National League of Democracy) boycotted the elections and withdrew from it because they believe the electoral laws are unjustified as the law excludes main opposition leaders from running. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, NLD’s leader, is banned from running because of her ties to political activism. Parties have to register with the Electoral Commissions before they are able to campaign. The EC scrutinizes the parties and disbands parties that have candidates with criminal records. The election law states that neither people with criminal records nor religious leaders are able to apply, banning political activists and monks from the elections.
So far, 25 political parties have applied, and only 12 have been approved.