Interview with an election observer

The junta regime has allocated over K28 billion for Union Election Commission under the Union Budget Law of 2023-2024 financial year. It is just nearly half that of 2020 General Election.

Interview with a political observer is about  the military’s planned elections, and if the regime will organize the election under this limited budget.

 TLT: What is your view on the military’s planned election?

Observer: The regime stipulated law and bylaw for party registration.  They announced invalidity of

non-registered parties. The National League for Democracy and the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy parties did not register. Under the prevailing political scenario, Military Chief Min Aung Hlaing has seized the power of country for 6 months due to instability of the country. He recently extended state of emergency for 6 months. If he will really hold the elections, it is the time to prepare for it. He must give the chances to contest the elections. The election commission must organize the meeting of political parties. As there are no such preparations  in sight until now, the election is just the word for international community. The regime issued amnesty order on Myanmar traditional new year. No political prisoners or inmates with political charges were freed, although some of their prison terms are about to complete in a couple of months. They should be included in the amnesty order. In fact, the regime released only prisoners of criminal cases. The level of crime is increasing in the country. People know who are responsible for destabilization of the country. So, it is sure that they will not hold elections although they are voicing it.

 TLT: As the budget for election commission of the military is just nearly half that of previous NLD government, what will their planned elections happen?

Observer:  International assistance is need in holding elections to collect voter lists and data for ensuring transparency. However, international organizations were not invited in 2010 elections. The transparency increased to a certain extent in 2012 by-elections. We invited international bodies and received a wide range of assistance, and it was a successful election. In both 2017 by-elections and 2020 general elections, we got international assistance. The current allocated budget of the Union is not enough to hold elections. If this year’s budget has been actually fixed this amount, it is sure (that they will not hold elections). The electoral expense is very high. Educative programme is very important for election. Volunteers must be hired for voter education. So, the present budget is not enough for holding elections. The election commission has cancelled tender invitation for ballot papers and ballot box. And that, I think the election is not likely to happen.

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