Yangon — As Myanmar organized its general election on Sunday, foreign diplomats and international agencies observed the voting. As an international observer, Thai ambassador to Myanmar Suphatra Srimaitreephithak visited polling stations in Yangon’s Kawhmu Township on Sunday where State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi sought re-election.
At Natsingon village polling station, the ambassador told The Irrawaddy’s Htun Htun through an interpreter why she chose to observe the voting in Kawhmu and her views on preventative measures against coronavirus.
Why did you observe in Kawhmu?
It is mainly because the township is where the state counselor is standing and also because I want to see the public participation in the township.
How do you assess the COVID-19 measures at polling stations?
In line with health ministry instructions, voters replaced their masks which they wore from their homes with new ones distributed at polling stations. They also wore face shields. The [Natsingon] polling station is spacious so voters could keep six feet apart. The safe distance protects voters and staff.
What do you think about the layout of polling stations? Does it provide privacy?
[There were signs] telling voters where to go and what to do upon their arrival and officials to help them. So this polling station is well-organized.
Everyone brought their voter registration ID and they also brought ID showing who they are. So [the voting] was handled well.
What is your overall assessment of Myanmar’s election?
As Thailand and Myanmar are neighbors, I hope the election will be transparent and fair. And I am very pleased people voted. Only voting in large numbers allows genuine democracy to be realized.
People fear for post-election stability with a possible coup and disputes over the results. What is your view?
As far as I know, there might be some disturbances but not a coup. Candidates were kidnapped in Rakhine State. But there is no reason to worry too much.
And if the Tatmadaw [military] stages a coup, it will tarnish its image, which concerns me.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko
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