Carter Center Launches Election Monitoring Mission in Myanmar
By Nan Lwin 18 September 2020
YANGON—The Carter Center, formed by the former US president Jimmy Carter, has launched its observation mission for Myanmar’s general election, although its specialist staff are currently based outside the country because of COVID-19 restrictions.
The organization said its mission began when it received accreditation from the Union Election Commission (UEC). On Nov. 8, Myanmar is set to hold its third general election – where the results are recognized – in nearly six decades.
It said the monitoring operation will include a core team of six specialists and 24 long-term observers.
“Because of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 travel restrictions, several core team experts are currently working remotely and Myanmar nationals will serve as long-term observers,” the Carter Center said.
The monitoring and reporting by the long-term observers will be overseen and managed by the international specialists, according to the center.
It said the mission will observe the electoral preparations and environment, including the election administration, campaigning, openness of the political space, participation of women and ethnic minorities, social media and impact of COVID-19 on the electoral process.
The center also plans to dispatch a delegation of short-term observers who will help assess the voting, counting and tabulation processes if travel and security permits are granted.
In early September, the UEC approved 8,120 domestic observers from eight civil society groups and two international NGOs to observe the November election.
The UEC said it certified the People’s Alliance for Credible Elections, Phan Tee Eain (Creative Home), New Myanmar Foundation, Rainmaker, Bago Observer group, Hornbill Organization, Kadu Youth Development Association, Election Education and Observation Partners. The international observers are from the Carter Center and Asian Network for Free Elections.
Some organizations reduced their election observers due to COVID-19. During the 2015 election, more than 11,400 domestic observers from 53 organizations and 764 international observers from six groups monitored the process.
The election campaign began on Sept. 8 but political parties are currently banned from campaigning where COVID-19 stay-at-home orders have been enforced. The UEC has approved nearly 7,000 candidates.
During the 2015 election, the Carter Center said it deployed three teams of long-term observers who visited 245 polling stations across the nation.
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