NAY PYI TAW — The following is the full text of message sent by President of the Republic of Union of Myanmar Agga Maha Thayay Sithu, Agga Maha Thiri Thudhamma U Thein Sein to the International Day of Democracy which falls on 15 September 2015.
My Fellow Myanmar Citizens,
On this auspicious occasion of the International Democracy Day which falls on 15 September 2015, I would first of all, wish you all a happy Democracy Day and may you also enjoy the full essence of democracy in your lives.
This year marks the fifth year in which the International Democracy Day has been celebrated in Myanmar with its full significance. Democracy is an administrative system in which each and every citizen has been accorded equal voice in matters of civic or political decision making process and with equal rights and privileges to enjoy the full civic and political life. Democracy will survive and thrive only in societies where there are transparency, accountability and responsibility.
The Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar empowers all its citizens to enjoy the full essence of democracy. Because democracy means “rule by the people”, it must be exercised by all the citizens in the country with their participation in the decision making process on matters that affect their lives. A society and democracy must be able to merge together in harmony to enable democracy to flourish and to enable the prevalence of peace and development in the nation.
Every democratic country needs to cultivate the “Culture of Democracy” where democratic civic culture must be firmly accepted and exercised by the society. In order for the culture of democracy to take root in a society, the matters relating to democratic practices, values and attitudes must be widely educated and instilled into the society. This means every citizen must be able to differentiate and balance the rights, responsibilities and accountability which are the essence of democracy.
My Fellow Myanmar Citizens,
With strong resolutions and set goals, Myanmar has embarked on a road to build a society on a firm democratic system. Today, we have achieved certain tangible successes. The fruit of our success is the results of concerted efforts of the people of Myanmar who are committed to work together and aspired to see the emergence of a new, modern and developed democratic state.
The development and progress of democracy is shaped by the unique historical background, societies, traditions, cultures and values, political parties as well as the political, social and economic institutions and all the stakeholders of the country. Hence, while the approaches to building a democratic society may varied and democracy may be manifested in different forms or shapes, the fundamental prerequisites are the people and maturity of their mindsets, their disciplines and their mental abilities to perceive, distinguish and assess the development of a democracy that responses to their needs.
Currently, Myanmar is at an important juncture where Myanmar people hold in their hand the opportunity to realize the aspirations of the people and their future. The upcoming 2015 General Elections are one of the huge tasks for transitioning Myanmar towards democracy. The Government will render all its efforts to ensure that the 2015 General Elections will be free and fair. The voters, on their part, also have responsibilities and duties to ensure the creation of a new democratic state of the future with their votes.
All the citizens who are eligible to vote have a duty to cast their ballots. In casting those ballots, it is important to elect representatives who will truly represent the interests of the people and who truly possess the qualities of good public representatives. Electing the right representatives would be conducive for all the citizens to obtain their goals of building a transparent and free society where democracy will flourish.
Myanmar is a country where ethnic nationalities are residing side by side with their diverse ethnicity, customs and beliefs. In canvassing votes for their candidates, political parties and voters need to refrain from causing disruption to those harmonious communities and wide diversity of beliefs. Similarly, they should also exercise their democratic rights by conduct of discipline and display of maturity of minds and judgment.
My Fellow Myanmar Citizens,
The theme of this year International Democracy Day is “Public Participation for Democracy”. The theme highlights and defines the all important role of the public in development of democracy. All the stakeholders in the democratization process must pave ways and open up opportunities for the citizens of the country to fully participate in each and every level of democratic mechanism. Similarly, they must also strive for promotion of public education on democracy in order to ensure that each and everyone can enjoy the full essence of democracy.
Taking this opportunity, celebrating the International Democracy Day, I urge and invite my fellow democratic citizens of Myanmar to join together in our democratic transition process— by upholding the standards and values of democracy, by nurturing the mutual trust and understanding among each other and by accepting the decision of the majority while also respecting the views of the minority—to build and to further strengthen a matured and prosperous democratic society in Myanmar.