Saturday, July 22, 2017

Bid to remove Mandalay mayor takes another step forward

The bid to remove Mandalay Mayor U Aung Moung through the constitutional recall procedure took another step forward this week, with residents saying they have amassed signatures of more than one percent of the electorate, as required under the constitution.

Activists in Mandalay have been collecting voters’ signatures to remove Mayor U Aung Moung from Mandalay Region Hluttaw seat of Mahaaungmyay 1 because they are unhappy at his heavy-handed attempts to evict people living illegally on municipal land.

It is believed to be the second time the procedure has been tried in Myanmar, with voters in Yangon’s South Okkalapa township unsuccessful in their attempt to recall Pyithu Hluttaw representative U Aung Thein Linn.

Ko Nyi Nyi Kyaw, a political activist and former member of All Burma Students’ Democratic Front, told The Myanmar Times he was ready to submit the signatures to the Union Election Commission this month.

“The signatures that I've got now are from the voters who actually voted in the 2010 election … the number of voters who want to remove the mayor is now more than 1pc of voters who supported him in the past election. Now we will submit [the signatures] to the Union Election Commission in early November,” Ko Nyi Nyi Kyaw told The Myanmar Times.

U Aung Moung was formerly minister for finance and revenue for Mandalay Region and was appointed mayor seven months.

Critics say he has directed police to use excessive force to resolve land disputes, such as the relocation of a vegetable market and eviction of families in Chanmyatharzi and Pyigyitagun townships.

“This isn’t based on personalities. We want people to know they have a way of making their voice heard without waiting five years [for the next election],” said Ko Nyi Nyi Kyaw.

U Aung Moung, who represents the Union Solidarity and Development Party received 16,868 votes in the 2010 election, defeating National Unity Party representative U Myo Chit by 2080 votes.

The recall process requires the Union Election Commission, on receiving the necessary signatures, to investigate the complaints. The official concerned may rebut the accusations.

The commission must take action according to the law if it finds the accusation proved, and that the official is not suitable to remain in office.

Translated by Thiri Min Htun