Mayors should be voted into office

There has been criticism of the appointment of some mayors under the new government, particularly those in Mandalay and Yangon. Facebook has been filled with news that Mandalay upgraded a road where the newly appointed Mandalay mayor Dr Ye Lwin has a private clinic. 

The unilateral decision of Yangon mayor Maung Maung Soe to amend the election bylaws ahead of the election of committee members at various levels of the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) is highly contentious. Consequently, members of the YCDC and chairs and members of district and township committees had no choice but to leave their positions before the election. 

There are calls for mayors to be appointed by democratic elections. 

Yangon's mayor has announced that an election would be held by forming a commission as quickly as possible. 

Legislation needs to be amended and elections should take place within one year with YCDC members and mayors for large cities chosen through democratic elections. 

As it was elected with about 80 per cent of the electorate, the National League for Democracy (NLD) government should do everything democratically. By holding elections for YCDC members as well as mayors without attachment to a single party, we will know who the people want in positions of authority.  

The regional chief ministers' right to directly appoint mayors could lead to doubts and misunderstanding among the public. 

We should take lessons from projects like overpass construction under the previous government. Although administrative tasks between a chief minister and mayor are related, there can be checks and balances if they are chosen by election. 

Successful mayors overseas often have separate powers from central government. 

The mayor's duty should be to supervise the city council. Mayors overseas usually receive guests and represent their city at ceremonies. A council in a large city can act like a government and a mayor can have the power to adopt legislation and policies and form bodies like a natural disaster prevention committees. 

A mayor should have the right of veto but should not be able to block a two-thirds majority of council members.  

The NLD government should open the door to elections for the appointment of mayors. Those capable of serving the best interests of residents must be allowed to run for election. The Daily Eleven calls for the election of city mayors.