Mon 30 Aug 2010
Filed under: Inside Burma
Dr. Sai Kham Leng (63) one of the 17 appointed members of Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC) has reportedly resigned from his position recently and is planning to contest the elections for the military regime backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), according to sources from Shan State and Rangoon.But the exact date of his resignation is not known and there has also been no official statement from the UEC, according to sources from Rangoon.
“The news leaked about two weeks ago. But the authorities did not announce it,” an informed source from Rangoon said.
Khun Okker, an executive board member of Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC) said UEC members shall be independent and shall have no relation with any political parties. And the UEC Chairman shall make an official announcement if there are changes in UEC members.
“If some UEC members resign or intend to participate in the elections without announcement by the UEC Chairman, then it means that the rules are being broken.”
In mid August, Dr. Sai Kham Leng was reported to have been asked by the USDP to be a candidate of Shan State South’s Kunhing Township for the party. He was nominated by the USDP to contest for the lower house, according to an informed source from Shan State South. “He submitted his application at Loilem District on 24 August.”
Dr. Sai Kham Leng is a retired Head of State Health Department. He is a Shan national from Kenglom village in Kunhing Township and graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from Rangoon. He is also a cousin of Dr. Sai Naw, a candidate of Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP) and is an uncle of Nang Wa Nu, an SNDP Kunhing candidate who will also contest for the same house [lower house].
“The two [uncle and niece] will be contesting against each other,” a local villager in Kunhing said. “Nang Wa Nu is a daughter of Dr. Kham Leng’s younger sister.”
Rumours in circulation in Rangoon say ‘the USDP also promised Dr. Sai Kham Leng that if he wins a majority of seats in Shan State for their party, he will be appointed Chief Minister of Shan State government.’
But with regard to the formation of UEC in the junta drawn 2008 constitution, to appoint a Chief Minister of a Region or State concerned, he/she must be selected from the State Legislature.
In addition, the constitution also states that UEC members shall not be members of a political party and shall not be a Parliament representative.
With regard to Dr. Sai Kham Leng’s resignation from the UEC, it is clear that the military regime itself is violating its own laws, according to Sai Lake, spokesperson for the defunct Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) that won the 1990 elections in Shan State.
“The military regime said that elected UEC members are not allowed to participate in the elections. They make the rules and they themselves break the rules,” Sai Lake commented. “Therefore, I cannot say that the forthcoming elections will be free and fair.”