Myanmar

Carter Center Statement on the Post-Election Environment and Complaints Resolution Process in Myanmar

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Executive Summary

This is the Carter Center’s first statement on the post-election period, following its preliminary statement issued on Nov. 10, 2015. It is based on monitoring by three teams of Carter Center long-term observers in Kachin, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan states, Mandalay and Yangon regions, and Nay Pyi Taw Union Territory from November 2015 – February 2016. It also draws on the findings of the Center’s short-term observers regarding the tabulation of results throughout Myanmar.

In its preliminary statement on the Nov. 8 elections, The Carter Center congratulated the people of Myanmar for successfully exercising their political rights and noted that additional advances will be needed for future elections to be fully consistent with broadly recognized international standards for democratic elections.1 Since election day, The Carter Center has observed the tabulation and announcement of results, the ongoing electoral dispute-resolution process, Union Election Commission-led post-election reviews, and the broader post-election environment across the states and regions.

With the important exception of fighting among the Myanmar military and ethnic armed groups, the post-election environment has been peaceful. Most political leaders called for an acceptance of the results and a smooth transition of power. The Union legislatures and state and regional assemblies met for their first sessions and elected their leadership. The Union Election Commission has addressed post-election complaints in a transparent manner, despite significant structural weaknesses in the legal framework.

These legal issues include the absence of an appeal mechanism beyond the UEC and the length of the complaints-resolution process. In addition, the legal provisions for campaign finance could benefit from a thorough review. Commendably, the UEC is engaging in a post-election review process with stakeholders with a view towards further improvement in future electoral cycles.

The Carter Center is now in the process of preparing its final report and recommendations for submission to the new government as well as the Union Election Commission, once its new commissioners have been appointed. It is important that electoral reform initiatives remain a priority for the incoming legislatures and government.