EU, UK Congratulate Myanmar on Election, Vow to Work With New Govt
By San Yamin Aung 10 November 2020
YANGON—The European Union and the United Kingdom have commended Myanmar over Sunday’s general election, praising the high voter participation amid challenging circumstances created by the COVID-19 outbreak and saying they will continue to work with the next government to achieve full democracy.
Despite a surge in coronavirus cases and controversy surrounding the missteps of the country’s election body, Myanmar voters flocked to polling stations to cast ballots on Sunday, in a general election that is crucial to keeping the country’s democratic transition moving forward. It is the second democratic vote since the 1990 election. The first was held in 2015.
More than 37 million of the country’s 56 million citizens were eligible to vote. While the election body has yet to announce the total number of votes cast, people across the country reported seeing high voter turnout at polling stations.
Myanmar’s largest election observer group, PACE, also offered a positive assessment following its observations of election day across the country, including its evaluation of COVID-19 prevention measures and observers’ timely access to polling stations. It said it had documented no major incidents so far.
“The people of Myanmar have clearly demonstrated their attachment to democracy,” the EU said in the statement on the general election.
“We look forward to continuing our engagement with the next government towards fully civilian and democratic governance, which would go hand in hand with the peace process [and] sustainable and inclusive development, and embrace all people in Myanmar,” the statement reads.
Acknowledging that challenges and difficulties were undoubtedly encountered during the electoral process, the EU called on all sides to engage constructively to achieve good governance and democratic reforms once the official outcome has been announced.
Although the official election results have yet to be finalized by the election body, based on initial vote counts, the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi claimed a resounding election win nationwide, having won more than the required number of parliamentary seats to form the next government.
Nigel Adams, the minister of state at the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, said in a statement that Britain would work with the new government as it moves down the path to full democracy.
“We are pleased that many people in Myanmar were able to exercise their hard won right to vote this week and remain committed to supporting their aspirations for peace and full democracy. We will work with the new government and civil society to this end,” Adams said.
The EU and UK also called for the full inclusion of disenfranchised Rohingya and other minorities, and for by-elections to be held at the earliest possible time in the constituencies where polls were canceled.
The US Embassy in Myanmar also released a statement congratulating Myanmar voters on reaching a new democratic milestone in Sunday’s election.
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