Burma

Over 37M Eligible Voters in Myanmar; Lists for 2020 Poll Not Yet Complete, UEC Says

By Moe Moe 28 November 2019

NAYPYITAW—Over 37 million people in Myanmar will be eligible to vote in the 2020 general election, according to Union Election Commission (UEC) spokesperson U Myint Naing.

“The list doesn’t include soldiers and their families. As soldiers tend to be transferred from time to time, we will get their list when the election is near,” U Myint Naing said at a press conference at the UEC on Wednesday.

The list also omits voters in five townships of the Wa Self-Administered Zone, he said. The UEC under the previous government was not able to compile voter lists in those townships, so their residents were unable to vote in 2015.

“Except for those five townships, we have compiled voter lists across the country, including Rakhine State,” he said. The UEC is taking steps to include voters in the five townships in the Wa region, U Myint Naing added.

The general election is slated to be held in November 2020, but the UEC has not yet fixed the precise date, he said. Meanwhile, the commission will keep on updating the voter lists to make them as accurate as possible.

“In 2015, we were able to conduct a pilot project together with the commission to check that the voter lists were correct, and whether any eligible voters were excluded. If we can cooperate with the commission this time too, I think we will be able to get more accurate voter lists,” project director U Kyaw Htin of New Myanmar Foundation, an election monitoring group, told The Irrawaddy.

One major problem in the 2015 election was that eligible voters who were no longer living in the locations in which they had registered with immigration offices were excluded from voter rolls. The commission at the time attracted strong criticism for its poor management of voter lists, U Kyaw Htin said.

The UEC will update the media on its preparations for the next general election every Wednesday beginning this week, he said.

The poll in 2010 was held on Nov. 7 and the 2015 poll was held on Nov. 8.

According to the previous Union Election Commission’s report on the 2015 general election, voting could not be held in 11 townships in Kachin State, seven in Karen State, two in Bago Region, one in Mon State and 17 in Shan State.

Around 1,200 local and 1,000 foreign observers and thousands of party representatives monitored voting at polling stations—including military polling stations—without any restrictions, the report said.

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