'Support to Electoral Processes and Democracy - STEP Democracy'

Myanmar: training manual help building capacity ahead of the 2020 General Elections

09 December, 2019

As Myanmar prepares for its general election in 2020, the Union Electoral Commission (UEC), has developed a training manual to give election staff a better understanding of the rules and regulations that are key to a successful election, and the sustainability of Myanmar’s democratic institutions.

The manual has been developed with support from the European Union-funded STEP Democracy programme and International IDEA. The UEC will use the manual together with qualified training for all levels of electoral sub-commissions and polling station staff, to increase their knowledge, awareness and understanding of the rules and regulations, which is a cornerstone for a successful election in 2020.

The transfer of power to a democratically-elected government, which came about through Myanmar’s first historic 2015 general election, was regarded as a milestone in the country’s transition to democracy. Since 2015 STEP Democracy and International IDEA have been working to support the process of democratization in the country.

Within this programme we have worked closely with the Union Election Commission, political parties and civil society organizations (CSOs) to foster a deeper awareness of, and advocacy for, reform to the legal framework behind the administration of the 2015 election.

The project subsequently provided trainings, aimed at enhancing the capacities of officials to fulfill their electoral duties, for the UEC and all new sub-commissions, including polling station staffs for the by-elections which were held in 2017 and 2018.

The Manual which has now been developed, is the next step in supporting the UEC and election staff to ensure a successful election in 2020. It will serve as the basis for two types of trainings. First, qualified UEC Commissioners provided training for 303 selected members of the sub-commissioners from 79 districts on how to use the manual. They then provided further trainings for approximately 2,300 newly appointed election sub-commission members.

Topics covered by the manual include the role and responsibilities of the UEC; legal framework; code of conduct of political parties; voter registration; resolving, negotiation and submitting an election objection; advance voting; public and voter education; counting and announcement of results; the role of sub-commissions and working guidelines for polling stations and gender mainstreaming.

“This ToT training helps us to upgrade the knowledge of electoral process. We learnt the lessons learned from 2010 and 2015 General Elections. Besides, we got to share our respective situations and experiences from our state and region during the training. Also, we could discuss those issues with trainers from UEC head office. Now, we feel more confident because of this ToT training and we want to deliver the cascade trainings soon”, a sub-commissioner from Kayin State.