Chinese Ambassador Visits Myanmar Junta Election Chief

By The Irrawaddy 8 March 2023

Chinese ambassador Chen Hai visited junta-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC) chairman Thein Soe in Naypyitaw on Tuesday as the regime continues to plan for a general election.

The ambassador asked about election preparations, the status of political parties and the holding of a free and fair election in a peaceful and stable environment, according to junta media.

Chen previously met the UEC chair in April last year.

Lin Toa, a Chinese Embassy consul to political parties in Myanmar, attended the meeting.

Lin visited Khin Yi, the chairman of the military’s proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party in November last year, and called for stronger ties between the party and the Communist Party of China.

China has said it does not want Myanmar’s dominant National League for Democracy to be dissolved by the regime.

But China is largely supportive of the regime, engages with the USDP and has shown an interest in junta election plans.

The regime last month enacted its Political Parties Registration Law, which requires parties to reregister with the UEC. Seventeen parties have reregistered so far.

The junta has invited tenders to supply polling station materials and is planning to introduce electronic voting.

The regime has not announced an election date but it said voter lists will be prepared based on the census. The regime’s immigration ministry this week announced a census for October next year, leading analysts to suggest an election is not being planned until early 2025 at the earliest.

The majority in Myanmar and the international community, including the US, European Union and Malaysia, have rejected the junta’s proposed election.