After more than 50 years of oppressive military rule, the southeast Asian nation of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is emerging from isolation and taking its first tentative steps toward democracy. On Nov. 8, its people will go to the polls for the first general election since democracy began to take root, and a Carter Center election observation team will be there to witness what could be an historic event.
Myanmar’s Union Election Commission has addressed post-election complaints in a transparent manner, The Carter Center said in a statement released today, but the country’s new government should address legal and structural issues to make it easier for candidates and citizens to pursue complaints in future elections and to further increase the transparency of the tabulation of results. Read the full report
The Carter Center congratulates the people of Myanmar, who have exercised their political rights with pride and enthusiasm. Both on election day and in the preceding months, they participated as voters, observers, political party agents, election officials, and civil society activists. Their empowerment and commitment to the democratic process was not only remarkable but crucial to counterbalancing the considerable structural impediments to fully democratic elections.
The Carter Center’s election observation mission enters a new phase Wednesday with the arrival of more than 50 short-term observers in advance of the Nov. 8 general election. The delegation will be co-led by former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, former chairman of Nepal’s Election Commission Bhojraj Pokharel, and incoming chairman of the Carter Center’s Board of Trustees Jason Carter.
The Carter Center today released its latest statement on Myanmar’s pre-election activities, making recommendations to help ensure a democratic process in the days to come.
Q&A with Carter Center Expert Jonathan Stonestreet on the upcoming elections and The Carter Center’s election observation mission.
The Carter Center election observation mission has deployed field teams to observe the electoral campaign, which officially started on Sept. 8. The first week of campaigning, as observed by the Center in three states, was peaceful, and parties report being able to conduct their campaign activities without significant difficulty. The Center remains concerned that strict enforcement of campaign regulations, and recently announced limitations on political speech, could have a negative impact on pre-election political space.
A number of important steps have been taken in the election process since March 2015, according to a Carter Center monitoring mission report released today. Observer accreditation procedures have been finalized, a large number of political parties have announced intentions to compete, and most parties have signed a code of conduct.
Myanmar’s Union Election Commission is making efforts to improve the transparency and integrity of the electoral process in advance of the 2015 general elections, according to a Carter Center monitoring mission report released today. However, a number of key challenges need to be addressed in order to ensure that the upcoming elections earn the confidence of voters, political parties, and civil society organizations.