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Election commission calls for more female politicians

Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi addresses a Karen delegation in Naypyidaw on Thursday, 18 September 2014. (PHOTO: DVB)

The Union Election Commission’s chairman has urged for more female candidates in the upcoming elections.

Tin Aye raised the topic of gender inequality in Burmese politics when he met with political parties in Rangoon on 15 December to discuss electoral procedures for the 2015 polls.

“Burmese women [in post-independent Burma] have a right to vote and run in elections,” he said. “But as the numbers show, there is a very small involvement of women in the political, governance and economic sectors, and in order to increase the percentage of women in these sectors the parties should field more female candidates.”

“Therefore, when they are fielding candidates I would like to urge that political parties consider women candidates with good qualifications.”

Tin Aye stressed that both men and women should be provided equal roles to promote all-inclusiveness as a basic democratic principal.

Currently there are 25 female MPs in the 426-seat lower house, and only four women out of 220 MPs in the upper house. This makes up just 4.36 percent in the bicameral parliament.

Though Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi is possibly the best-known female politician in Asia the country’s political system remains dominated by men. There have been numerous calls in recent years to make the system more inclusive as many maintain there are still huge divides in gender and racial equality in Burma.