August 20, 2016

MYANMAR AT THE POLLS — UEC chairman makes final inspection of polling stations

A voter casts an advance vote for the election on November 8 at a polling station in Zabuthiri Township.
A voter casts an advance vote for the election on November 8 at a polling station in Zabuthiri Township.

ELECTION Commission Chairman U Tin Aye yesterday went on final inspection tours of polling stations in several townships of Nay Pyi Taw, urging officials of the stations to make sure measures for the secret voting system were implemented.
During his tour the chairman told electoral officers that local and foreign observation groups will be allowed to monitor the voting process at polling stations alternatively in order not to disturb the secret voting system.
However, if an observation group requests officials stay inside a polling station to observe the voting system, it will be allowed to do that, and the other groups will observe the electoral process alternatively, he added.
The chairman called for safety measures — the fastening of security belts to the boxes and secure polling booths, urging the officers to make sure that the observation by local and foreign groups does not disturb or influence voters.
He stressed the need to compile lists of early voters and arrange chairs for observers and some paper for stamp testing. Photography from a safe distance is permitted.
The Asian Network for Free Elections Foundation, which is currently observing the electoral process, expressed its hope that there will be no more violence during the 2015 election cycle.
“We don’t interrupt the election cycle and we always respect the results. We hope to see peace and transparency in Myanmar during this time without any violence,” said the Ichal Supriadi Mission Director of ANFREL foundation at the MiCasa Hotel yesterday.
With both short-term and long-term observation teams, ANFREL will observe the country’s first ever open election in decades and will announce the first stage summary of Myanmar’s election two months after election day.
The foundation sent its 27 short term observers to Myanmar on 3 November and they will work closely with the foundation’s long-term observers who have been working since 12 October.
The ANFREL Election Observation Mission (EMO) objective is to strengthen Myanmar’s democratic culture by monitoring the electoral process and reporting on possible election-related human rights violations.
According to ANFREL, advance voting is held only in Thailand and Myanmar.
On the Election day, the observers from the ANFREL will visit main polling stations in Yangon to observe the electoral processes. The long-term team will observe the election from October 9 to November 20, 2015, whereas the short-term team will observe from November 1 to 10.


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