As the Union Election Commission has scheduled the 2020 Myanmar general election for 8 November, political parties running in the elections are shifting to high gear in their campaigning.. In parallel,, election observation groups and media are preparing to observe and report on the elections.
Under the EU-funded STEP Democracy programme, Democracy Reporting International Myanmar in partnership with USAID and FHI 360 held a second round of Election Academy online trainings from 21 to 25 September. Participants from domestic election observation groups, political parties and media discussed electoral issues such as the mandate of the Union Election Commission (UEC), campaign rules or polling, counting and results announcement.
The training combined lectures on international standards for elections and the legal framework in Myanmar with interactive breakout group discussions. Participants had the chance to make their own assessment of election laws and see which amendments would be necessary to meet international standards.
“We all need to know the election laws and electoral international standards to make sure we have genuine elections. At this training I learned new facts about election offences/malpractices and dispute resolution procedures. As I am now working on communication in my organization, I feel more confident to share news and information about the electoral process. In addition, I am now clearer about the facts around elections and will highlight to my communication community if they share wrong facts or disseminate misinformation,” said Ma Ni Mi Mi Win from Human Right Foundation of Mon Land.
“I learned details about each stage of the election cycle. As participants were from different states and regions, I learned about and exchanged on specific election challenges across the country. I also found the case studies we discussed really useful. I learned about other countries which held and postponed elections due to Covid-19, a very timely discussion for us in Myanmar. As I am now working on voter education, I will add these lessons to my training module and will share the knowledge in my community”, said Ko Thein Min Soe from Pace on Peaceful Pluralism.
Under the EU funded STEP Democracy Programme, as part of DRI’s support to credible elections and enhancing the capacity of stakeholders involved in electoral advocacy, DRI developed a manual on the Legal Framework for elections in 2015, which was used as resource to train domestic election observers and is currently being adapted to reflect changes made in laws and regulations. In addition, DRI, under the STEP Democracy programme, will work with participants to form an alumnae network, which can contribute to a broad-based election reform debate.