The Union Election Commission has said it will no longer attend meetings of an Amyotha Hluttaw committee appointed to consider proportional representation because it wishes to avoid any implications from being involved in drafting proposals to change the voting system.

UEC chairman U Tin Aye revealed the decision in an interview with Mizzima on the sidelines of a conference at the ParkRoyal Hotel in Yangon on July 20 to discuss election issues.

“Until now the UEC has attended the committee meetings to discuss proportional representation as an observer but I will instruct commission members not to attend the meetings to ensure there is no misunderstanding about our views on the issue,” U Tin Aye said.

He said the Amyotha Hluttaw committee would draft a proposal for proportional representation and it would then be submitted to the UEC.

“The commission will then judge the practicality of the matter,” U Tin Aye said.

U Tin Aye said declining to be involved in the committee’s discussion would ensure that the UEC could not be accused of bias by parties that oppose any change to the first past the post voting system.

The committee was established after the National Democratic Force tabled a resolution in the Amyotha Hluttaw in June proposing a change to proportional representation in a move supported by the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party.

The main opposition National League for Democracy, supported by some ethnic minority parties, voted against the move and later claimed it was an attempt to distract attention from its campaign to amend the constitution.

Proportional representation provides for the number of seats won by a party or group to be in proportion to the number of votes it receives.