Myanmar, like other countries in the world, is fighting with the COVID-19. No one knows how the epidemic situation will develop in the coming months, but we will have to hold the 2020 general elections.
The 2020 general elections must be held in late months of 2020 according to the constitution.
The 2010 general elections day was announced two months and 24 days before the election day while the 2015 general elections days was announced four months before the election day.
The UEC said it would announce the day for the 2020 general elections depending on the current situation of COVID-19 containment process.
We must be doing everything possible now so that in six or seven short months every qualified voter has an easy opportunity to cast a ballot, regardless of the challenges COVID-19 presents.
Now, our migrant workers in foreign countries including neighbouring ones are returning home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to review the current situation and make recommendations for the proper conduct of voter registration and other election and voting related issues.
Voting is an essential right to which everyone should have equal access. Elections officials and polling place workers should have time to plan and prepare so our elections proceed as normally and securely as possible meeting with its five standards: they are free, fair, transparent, reliable, and harmonious with the people’s desire.
We need to carry out necessary planning and procedures can be in place in the coming months to ensure every eligible citizen gains their right of voting.
The UEC has also compiled a constituency list nationwide and it needs to continue to scrutinize the list due to the current situation. The UEC is also committed to working in cooperation with political parties and civil society organizations when the comprehensive constituency list is announced.
To ensure that the 2020 general elections meet with the five standards, the UEC will amend necessary rules and regulations, in accordance with the current circumstances.
Besides, the current COVID-19 situation has demanded that the local election boards to set up polling places to be in line with the “new normal” including “social distancing.”
It is not too much to ask. It needs to be done now.