Photo: Pyidaungsu Hluttaw

Khin Tharaphy Oo | DMG
13 January 2021, Sittwe 

The Office of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Parliament) on January 12 rejected a request by more than 200 delegates and three major political parties, as well as military representatives and independents, to convene a special session of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. 

Representatives have criticised what they describe as the loss of the people’s voice in the transition period, as the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw has not been convened for about two months, since the November 8 election.  

“Under the previous U Thein Sein government, the last parliamentary session was convened after the 2015 general election. It has been more than two months since the parliament session convened before the election. It has been five months since the parliamentary session was convened, and at that time, the voices of the people and the parliament were lost,” said U Pe Than, the Lower House MP for Myebon Township. 

On January 11, 160 military representatives, 36 members of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), four members of the Arakan National Party (ANP), one member of the National Democratic Party and an independent lawmaker submitted a petition to the Speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw seeking to convene a special parliamentary session. 

Representatives from the military and the USDP together accounted for more than 25% of the total, while other lawmakers signed a petition calling for a special parliamentary session to show solidarity with them, according to the lawmakers. 

The petition urges the convening of a special session of the Hluttaw to ensure that parliamentarians do not lose their rights during the remaining second term of the parliament and to discuss electoral issues in the recent election. Section 84 of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law stipulates that the Speaker of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw shall convene a special session as soon as possible if requested by at least one-fourth of the total number of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw representatives. 

The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Office rejected the representatives’ request on January 12, saying that the request for holding a special session of the parliament was not to be approved by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. 

At present, there is an outbreak of coronavirus in the country and there are only 20 days left in the second term of the parliament, so there is limited time to continue the session, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Office said in a statement. 

“If 25% of the members of the Hluttaw request a special session of the Hluttaw, the Speaker of the Hluttaw must give permission. In the second parliament, the people submitted proposals. I think the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw should do what we are requesting before the end of the parliamentary term. As no decision has been made for the people, we worry that the third parliament will lose its proposals and questions,” said Dr. San Shwe, chairperson of the Arakan State USDP.  

The first regular session of the third Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) is scheduled to be convened on February 1. 

Region and state parliamentary sessions must be convened within 15 days of the commencement of the term of the Pyithu Hluttaw, according to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law. 

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