Several civil society organisations (CSOs) compiled amendments to the draft of the election rules distributed by the Union Election Commission (UEC) and submitted them to the UEC on January 15.
The UEC distributed drafts of a code of conducts and election rules to be followed by election observers on December 16. Election observers pointed out that the election watch period allotted by these drafts was too short for them to complete their registration. This and other rules are the target of the amendments proposed by the CSOs.
Paragraph 19 of the election rules draft says election observers must submit registration documents 15 days ahead of the general elections. The observers have petitioned the UEC to extend the deadline.
“The period of 15 days is very short. We don’t understand this exactly. It is not easy to assemble the election observers and volunteers in a single place. We need 20 to 25 days,” said Zin Mar Oo of the Myanmar Network for Free and Fair Elections (mynfrel).
“Chapter 14 says election observers have the right to watch the elections from start to finish. Long-period and short-period watchers were not categorised. This point is still unclear for us. The election watch does not mean only a single day of election; it means the whole period of the election. For instance, we will have to monitor registrations, canvassing campaigns and other legal matters of the political parties,” said Mya Nanda Lin, the electoral advisory director of the News Myanmar Foundation.
“According to the code of conduct draft, the elections watch groups must present their reports to the UEC. If they don’t, they will not be allowed to observe the next elections. We don’t agree on this point,” said Zin Mar Oo.
“The UEC added that if the reports are not presented, these will not be permitted for use,” Zin Mar Oo said.