President urges ethnic armed groups to help ensure fair elections

President Thein Sein has urged ethnic armed groups to help ensure that the 2015 elections are conducted fairly in their respective areas during a meeting with leaders of 12 ethnic armed groups at the Myanmar International Convention Centre in Nay Pyi Taw on January 5.

“The nationwide ceasefire is a crucial component of Myanmar’s democratic transition. The only way to have nationwide ceasefire is through political talks. If we have concrete agreements, they can guarantee long-lasting peace. Although political talk is ongoing and the ceasefire plan has not been finalised, continued conflict can cause political talks to regress,” said the president.

“Therefore, the government must organise supervisory bodies to make sure that ongoing conflicts stop and no new ones erupt. We need to lay a foundation for the next government to continue the peace process.”

“Another important requirement of the democracy reform plan is to hold fair elections in 2015. Ethnic armed groups in their respective regions must help with the 2015 elections. If the ceasefire plan is takes effect, the government will fulfil the needs of the people with the state budget.”

In 2010, elections were held in 325 out of a total of 330 constituencies for the lower house of parliament, as there were security issues in some areas. All 168 constituencies held elections for upper house seats. For regional and state parliaments, only 661 constituencies out of 673 constituencies held elections.

Likewise, in the 2012 by-elections, only 45 out of 48 constituencies due for elections actually held them due to security issues in parts of Kachin State.

“The 2015 election, which the international will be watching, is for our dignity. We are trying to continue political talks as soon as possible, as the government plans to sign a nationwide ceasefire deal on February 12, which is a Union Day in Myanmar,” urged the president.