August 19, 2016

Elections will be free and fair, and truly reflect wishes of the people

The following is the speech concerning the 2015 general elections delivered by President U Thein Sein on 7 November.


My fellow citizens,
The November 8th general elections are an important historical step towards accelerating the reform process in Myanmar.
I applaud political parties and candidates for respecting campaign laws, regulations and rules during the campaign period. I also praise the citizens of this country for peacefully showing their support for their candidates and parties.
I recognize the efforts of civil society organizations in ensuring that citizens are able to fully exercise their right to vote. In particular, I recognize youth and other civil society organizations for their hard work in carrying out voter education. The active participation of youths at every stage of the electoral process is an encouraging sign for the future of our country.
I trust that voters are now ready to cast their votes after careful consideration of the qualifications and capabilities of the candidates. To reach this stage, we have had to overcome many obstacles, and achieving the conditions for holding these elections was not an easy task. Therefore, I strongly urge every citizen to exercise their right to vote in elections that will shape the future of the nation, especially since this Sunday’s elections are so important to the reform process. The Union Election Commission (UEC) has announced that although there are some deficiencies in the voter lists, arrangements are being made to ensure all eligible voters are able to casts their ballots on election day. I urge voters to carefully follow the UEC’s voting instructions so that their ballots are valid.
My government is making every effort to ensuring that each and every eligible voter including members of the Tatmadaw and civil service are able to cast their votes freely.
To make sure all political forces are able to freely participate and contest the elections, nearly ten thousand independent civil society and international observers and national and international media will be present during the elections.
As I mentioned in my monthly radio address, we faced challenges and difficulties to hold general elections given the prevailing conditions. However, I believe these elections will be free and fair, and truly reflect the wishes of the people. All political forces participating in the elections must also in good faith accept the results.
I understand there are some concerns regarding the acceptance of the election results.
I stress again that my government and Tatmadaw will respect the results of the free and fair elections. New political arrangements will be jointly forged and implemented in accordance with the results.
In line with the Constitution, the newly elected members of parliament will vote to elect a president to lead the next government. I will accept the government chosen in keeping with the results of the elections and the Constitution, and trust all the leaders of political forces are committed to the same.
To ensure stability during the interim period after the
elections, my government and all political leaders will work together to resolve any issues. These political discussions will greatly assist interim period stability and facilitate a smooth transition to the new political arrangement.
We must all continue on this journey to fully achieving our goal of establishing a democratic and federal union. Many more elections will be held in the future, and political developments will be attained step by step.  Gradual evolution is the key to achieving genuine and sustainable democracy.
As we make progress, it is only by successfully holding these November 8th general elections in a free and fair manner that we can ensure a stable transition to a new political arrangement that will advance reforms. Therefore, as these elections are critical for our country’s future, and are also being closely watched by the entire world, I urge political leaders to make political choices with vision and compassion, and for citizens to freely cast their votes.
I wish you all good health.


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