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The Carter Center Issues Second Report and Recommendations on Myanmar's Electoral Process

Read the full field mission report (PDF)

Contact: In Atlanta, Soyia Ellison,
In Yangon, Frederick Rawski,

ATLANTA - A number of important steps have been taken in the election process since March 2015, according to a Carter Center monitoring mission report released today. Observer accreditation procedures have been finalized, a large number of political parties have announced intentions to compete, and most parties have signed a code of conduct. However, a number of key challenges need to be addressed, including opening political space, improving transparency, issuing key electoral procedures, and addressing voting rights.

The main recommendations of the Carter Center mission include:

The Union Election Commission (UEC)

  • To promote increased public confidence in the election process, the UEC could take steps to improve its outreach to political parties and voters in a number of areas. These include publishing an electoral calendar and releasing increased information about the voter list update process, the criteria for cancellation of elections in constituencies for security reasons, election day identification requirements, and the complaints and appeals process.
  • To increase confidence in the quality of the voter lists, the UEC should ensure that approaches to confirming eligibility are consistent, and should clarify voter registration procedures for displaced and migrant populations. The UEC could increase public outreach to explain the nature and reason for errors in the voter list.
  • To ensure the transparency of the process, all advance voting should be fully observable, including the casting of ballots. This applies in particular to the conduct of advance voting in military installations.
  • UEC decisions on other outstanding procedures, including those governing polling, counting and tabulation, advance voting, voting for internally displaced persons, voter identification, and the election dispute process should be finalized as soon as possible.
  • The effectiveness, independence, and public confidence in the dispute-resolution system could be strengthened by disseminating information to the public, thoroughly investigating reported violations, and providing a timely response to complaints. For postelection disputes, civil society and political party input in the appointment of independent experts to election tribunals should be allowed, and there should be a timely response to all complaints.
  • The UEC should work with national observer groups to ensure that minor deficiencies in application documents are not a basis for denying accreditation and that the groups are guaranteed unhindered access to all steps of the electoral process. Observers should have flexibility to determine where they observe.

The Government of Myanmar

  • To ensure that the cancellation of temporary citizenship cards does not result in large-scale disenfranchisement of previously eligible voters, the citizen verification process should be conducted in a timely, fair, and transparent manner. The authorities should take any other measures necessary to prevent disenfranchisement, particularly of religious and ethnic minorities.
  • The government should ensure that all parties are able to campaign freely and on an equal basis, including by reducing bureaucratic and administrative requirements. Political parties and observers should not be subject to interference or surveillance by the government or security forces.
  • The government should take steps to promote a free environment for journalists to cover election-related issues. Journalist access to government officials should be increased. The authorities should also refrain from pre-emptive or punitive use of defamation lawsuits and other legal action against journalists.
  • In recognition that the success of the election is a shared responsibility, the government should direct the General Administration Department and other government offices to cooperate more actively with election sub-commissions.
  • The role and membership of election security committees and auxiliary police should be clarified, including how they will be recruited, trained, deployed, and supervised.

Political Parties

  • Political parties should sign the code of conduct and disseminate information about its commitments to all levels of party structures, supporters, and the public.
  • Political parties should respect the commitments made in the code of conduct, including refraining from using religious and racially discriminatory language. Monitoring committee(s) will be most effective if established well in advance of the start of the election campaign.

The Carter Center received an invitation on March 30, 2015, from the Union Election Commission to observe the general election. The Center accepted the invitation following the announcement of the election date and began its election observation mission at the beginning of August. The Center has been monitoring political transition issues in Myanmar since November 2014.

The Carter Center takes this opportunity to express its condolences to all people affected by the recent flooding in Myanmar.


This report summarizes the preliminary findings of the Carter Center's political transition monitoring mission to Myanmar based on interviews and field trips conducted to Chin, Kachin, Rakhine and northern Shan states, and Bago, Magway, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, and Yangon regions from May through July 2015. The report builds on observations conducted from December 2014 to February 2015, summarized in a report in March 2015. Carter Center observers have now visited all of Myanmar's states and regions. During its visits, The Carter Center met with a wide array of interlocutors to assess the electoral framework, the state of election preparations, and the breadth of political space. The Carter Center bases its analysis on well-established international obligations and standards.

The Carter Center works to advance democratic elections and governance consistent with universal human rights. The Center is credited with making substantial contributions to the professionalization of the field of election observation and assistance; reinforcing the linkage between election observation and human rights; building civil society capacity for monitoring elections and government performance against democratic obligations based in international law; and helping strengthen democratic governance worldwide. The Center has monitored 100 elections in 38 countries since 1989. Carter Center missions are conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the accompanying Code of Conduct.

Read the entire field mission report here (PDF).


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

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