The European Union (EU) deployed an Election Follow-up Mission to Myanmar on 14 March 2019. The Mission was led by Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Chief Observer of the 2015 EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Myanmar and former Vice President of the European Parliament.
The purpose of the Follow-up Mission was to assess the degree to which the recommendations of the EU EOM had been implemented and the progress made in electoral reforms since the 2015 general elections. The Mission met with representatives of the Union Election Commission (UEC), the Parliament, political parties, civil society and technical assistance providers.
Some recommendations identified by the EU EOM in 2015 have been implemented; a number however still remain relevant and unaddressed. The EFM has specifically focused on a set of priority recommendations that could be implemented before the 2020 general elections. These relate primarily to transparency in the work of the UEC, voter registration, campaign, election dispute resolution, advance voting and a more prominent role for women in political parties.
In this context, the Mission organised a roundtable on 4 April with the UEC, political parties, civil society organisations, national observers’ groups and international technical assistance providers. Participants had the opportunity to jointly discuss the feasibility of implementing further EU EOM recommendations that would improve the 2020 electoral process.
In a press conference held today, Mr Lambsdorff said: “One important conclusion of the roundtable was the need to improve communication between the UEC, political parties and civil society organisations involved in election-related activities. This is a legitimate request from electoral stakeholders. We encourage the UEC to develop an effective communication strategy that will keep all stakeholders regularly informed about the status of electoral preparations. Beyond that, now is the right time for Myanmar institutions and political parties to start working on all relevant measures that will increase the level of inclusiveness, credibility and transparency for a successful Union election in 2020.“
The deployment of the Electoral Follow-up Mission demonstrates the EU's strong commitment to the democratisation process in Myanmar. The Mission welcomes the formation and the ongoing work of a Joint Constitutional Amendment Committee mandated to review the Constitution, and encourages the government to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) signalling its commitment to uphold fundamental democratic values.