Civic groups discuss election with UN Special Rapporteur

Several civic organisations and political analysts discussed their concerns about the 2015 election in a meeting with Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar at the UN office in Yangon yesterday morning.

“We found out that the [Union] Election Commission (UEC) is too weak to establish the role of civic organisations productively. They have divided the civic organisations into two groups. One group will provide education on the election, and the group will serve as an observer. They are opposite in their tasks. We told this to Yanghee Lee,” said Zin Mar Oo, a member of the Myanmar Network for Free and Fair Elections (mynfrel).

Dr Yan Myo Thein, a political analyst, said the government has appointed retired army officers to the UEC and its ancillary commissions. He said the meeting with Lee covered the reorganisation of the commissions in order to hold free and fair election in 2015. They also discussed the possibility that the election would be postponed.

“I said the commission can postpone the election in the case of an emergency. But the election commission’s chairperson was also meant to preside over a by-election in 2014, but he cancelled the by-election after meeting with political leaders. It is obvious that the commission can stop or postpone the election easily,” hepointed out.
Yanghee Lee said the international community believes the government will hold an election in 2015.

"The Myanmar government will hold the election to gain trust and acknowledgement from the international community that the election will be an important part of the country's democratic reform," said Dr Yan Myo Thein.

“The list of voters is our main concern. They are listing voters across the country, but we have no reliable census data. There may be some voters unaccounted for. We want to ask the election commission how to solve the problem. We told this to [Yanghee Lee],” said Mya Nandar Lin, election advisor for mynfrel.
Naw Hla Hla Soe, who was a candidate in the recent Yangon City Development Council elections, submitted evidence of abnormalities in the city election to the UN Special Rapporteur.

“When she saw my evidence, she seemed shocked. She remarked that if the same things happened in the 2015 election, it would be very difficult to have fair and free election,” said Naw Hla Hla Soe.