Given the current circumstances, we have removed the names of individuals and local organisations from this article for their own protection.
Ahead of Myanmar’s general elections scheduled for 8 November 2020, DRI partnered with the Danish Institute of Political Parties (DIPD) and a local organisation working on free elections to deliver comprehensive training for domestic election observers, political parties and journalists.
This Election Academy, held virtually from 20 to 26 July 2020, included seven modules that provided participants with a solid knowledge of the different elements of the election cycle under Myanmar legislation, ranging from the voter registration process to election dispute resolution.
Thirty political party representatives, domestic election observers as well as media representatives discussed issues such as the Union Election Commission’s (UEC) mandate, voter and candidate eligibility and registration, campaign and campaign finance regulations, polling, vote-counting procedures and election dispute resolution. One module focused on the Myanmar Code of Conduct for media reporting on elections.
With participants from so many different backgrounds, they were able to share their very different experiences throughout the Academy, including through applied group work. Beyond the 2020 elections, participants will be able to use their new knowledge and networks to advocate for improvements and electoral reforms.
“Elections are the essence of democracy. Elections should be transparent, free and fair. Through them, citizens have the right to choose the leader or government that represents them. Having learned about Myanmar’s electoral legal framework, I will share and reapply this knowledge in my academic work,” said one participant.
As part of our work under the EU-funded STEP Democracy Programme, we are currently updating our manual on Myanmar’s electoral framework that was first published in 2015. In addition, we are working with participants to form an alumni network to help contribute to a broad election reform debate.
This was prepared under the European Union (EU) funded project ‘Support to Electoral Processes and Democracy – STEP II Democracy’ – which supports inclusive, peaceful and credible electoral processes, and enhances the capacity of stakeholders to strengthen the democratic transition in Myanmar.
Photo credit: Markus Winkler