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#MYANMAR #no #election #delay after considering consequences for postponement

October 14, 2015

Union Election Commission (UEC), chairman of the Union Election Commission (UEC), yesterday held a meeting with major political parties asking them if the election set for November 8 should be postponed. He cited the ongoing natural disasters as the reason although they have not happened on a nationwide scale.


However in the late evening, UEC announced there would be no delay and the election would take place as previously scheduled because of possible consequences for the postponement.

It was attended by the National Unity Party, the National Democratic Force Party, the Rakhine National Party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, the National League for Democracy Party and Myanmar Peasant Development Party.

“I know the postponement of the election since the earlier period. The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) put forward it. The Peasants’ Party is also the same matter. Some of Chin parties also do the same matter. For my side, I urged the UEC to right with the voter lists. As you know, the natural disasters are taking place until now,” Tin Aye told the media.

“The wide parts of the country are seeing natural disasters today. I thought that if the people would able to vote with peace of mind in case of the natural disaster, similarly if the political parties would be OK in their campaigns. For these reasons, the UEC met with major parties asked them whether they want to postpone the election. The main reason is the natural disaster,” Tin Aye said.

He added that he worried whether the candidates and the parties could conduct election campaigns. He said that the UEC met with only ten parties out of more than 90. The media raised the question whether number is too little.

Tin Aye replied that it was not insignificant. “The candidates of the 10 parties were above 73 percent of the total candidates enlisted for the elections. It seemed fair. Ours was the committee for negotiating electoral process. Our acts were correct,” he said.

When asked about his opinion on comparing to the referendum held shortly after cyclone Nargis in 2008, Tin Aye replied that it was true and the cyclone hit only in delta region at a time the referendum was held while the current disasters battered a large part of the country. “There is difference. It can be known if we read the newspapers of today,” he added.

Moreover, Tin Aye explained that the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) objected to the postponement of the election while only two parties mentioned that the election should be postponed, the remaining parties would follow the decision of the UEC and some parties view that the postponement of the election as UEC’s authority.

The UEC can decide the postponement of the election in accord with its prescribed law. The UEC law stated that the election date can be consulted. Therefore, the UEC met with the political parties.

Regarding the question about “Can you tell whether the election would be postponed across the country,” Tin Aye replied, “The postponement might be across the country. We would re-discuss whether the elections should be postponed or not. We would meet with disabled persons as well. The decision would appear today or tomorrow.”

“The elections will not be held on Nov 8 due to the current natural disasters and unstable situation in the country. The meeting is aimed at whether the election should be postponed or not. Another matter is code of conduct (COC). The COC must be respected and followed,” Aye Nu Sein of Rakhine National Party said.

“The UEC should meet with the parties within one to two days as to the postponement of the election. The UEC has the legal rights in accord with the laws. I don’t know the result. The UEC is expected to hold the election in accord with the laws. Some parties mentioned that the election should not be postponed,” Aye Nu Sein said.

“In fact, the elections should not be postponed. Some parties said the elections should be postponed whereas some said it shouldn’t be. If the elections are not held at the same time, all the constituencies should be the same. Some parties told the UEC to carry out the matter within its capacity. Today there were only six parties attending the meeting and they have different ideas whether to attend the meeting or not. Only one party mentioned that the election should not be postponed,” Aye Nu Sein said.

“Our party chose not use to a vote. We will do within our capacity. We have nothing particular to say. We put forward that the nationwide ceasefire agreement must be held at the same time. The UEC’s chair promised that matters would be within the frame of law,” Aye Nu Sein said.

Win Htein of the opposition NLD told the media that the UEC chairman presented two reasons at the meeting—one is peace and stability in the elections and another is to postpone the elections due to floods and landslides. For these reasons, the election may be postponed.

“The referendum for the 2008 Constitution was held even in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Now is the different matter unlike the referendum in 2008. For that reason, I totally object to the postponement of the elections. Three political parties such as Nay Zin Lat’s party, the peasants’ party led by Kyaw Swar Soe and the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) supported the postponement of the elections. The National Unity Party and Rakhine National Party will follow the decisions of the UEC,” Win Htein of the opposition NLD said.

“I already knew it. It happened as I expected. Now I have already informed the chair of NLD. I was sorry for not consulting with the chair. The chair replied that I was right. (U Tin Aye) would make a decision,” Win Htein said.

“Party organisers have already prepared to hold the elections as they planned. As for us, we would like to hold the elections in accord with the disciplines. It will be no problem for us if the elections are held without being postponed,” Tin Aye told the media.

“The UEC chairman did not mention the exact postponement of the election. Today’s meeting is to mainly postpone the elections. Other matters are useless. We met with ten major parties with most of the candidates. The total of the candidates is 73 percent,” Win Htein said.

“Torrential rains, floods and landslides are occurring in some parts of the country. According to the current analysis, half of the total constituencies may be postponed. We heard that the election might be postponed to another one or two weeks. It is still undecided yet whether to postpone the election. The UEC chairman said that an announcement would be made that day or the next day. Our party will pay special attention to it. If the elections are held in case of natural disasters, it may be fair or not,” Nay Min Kyaw, the secretary of National Democratic Force Party, said.

In the news broadcast in the late evening yesterday, UEC said as advised by commission members that there should not be delays for fear of consequences; the general elections will take place on November 8 as earlier scheduled.

During a meeting between UEC and political parties held on July 21, NLD, Myanmar Peasant Development Party and Guiding Star Party suggested about election postponement as a free and fair election was not possible due to severely incorrect basic voter lists. Tin Aye however said the election should not be postponed just because of faulty voter lists and urged them to ensure that they are correct. On September 1 also, Chin Progressive Party called for election delays due to natural disasters.

At yesterday’s meeting, the UEC chairman sought suggestions from the political parties as to whether the election should be postponed. He said the political parties were unable to conduct election campaigns in some areas of Shan and Kachin states and Palaung Self-Administered Region due to security concerns. Moreover, he said parliamentary candidates had not been allowed to canvass for voters on the Coco Island. He cited the situation of election campaigns, regional instability and natural disasters as the several reasons.

Despite his refusal to postpone the election in July, Tin Aye changed his mind and proposed to delay the election 26 days before it is scheduled on November 8.

In meeting with political parties on July 21, he talked about no election postponement and the correction of voter lists. But when the voter lists were announced again for the last time, they remained incorrect. He then said he could guarantee only 30 per cent of correct voter lists. Till today, Tin Aye cannot guarantee correct voter lists. But he insisted that the voter lists could be corrected by the voters themselves by conducting checks and making corrections. He also said the correct voter lists could not be guaranteed without the participation of voters. CR. ELEVEN MEDIA

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