Political parties sign code of conduct for upcoming general elections

Representatives from political parties attend a signing ceremony for the electoral code of conduct for political parties and candidates at the Novotel Hotel in Yangon on Friday. — Photo: Ye Myint
Representatives from political parties attend a signing ceremony for the electoral code of conduct for political parties and candidates at the Novotel Hotel in Yangon on Friday. — Photo: Ye Myint

Yangon, 26 June — Representatives from the majority of Myanmar’s political parties on Friday signed a code of conduct for the upcoming general elections aimed at ensuring ethical behaviour from all contestants during the campaign and on polling day.
Of the country’s 80 registered political parties, 67 inked the code of conduct at Novotel Hotel in Yangon in the presence of Union Election Commission Chairman U Tin Aye, foreign diplomats, civil society organizations and the media.
According to a media release, additional parties and independent candidates are expected to sign in the coming weeks.
The code seeks to ensure the success of the electoral process and encourage open, free and fair competition, it said.
The document is a voluntary instrument for the guidance of political parties and is not legally binding, but signatories are obliged to uphold its principles, the UEC chairman said.
The voluntary principles were developed with the consensus of political parties and with the technical support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Yangon.
Mr Christoph Burgener, Switzerland’s first resident ambassador to Myanmar, called the document “a manifesto for fair play in elections.”
According to the Union Election Commission, similar codes of conduct have been used in other countries undergoing transition such as South Africa in 1994 and Nepal in 2013.
Mr Bojraj Pokharel, the former Head of the Nepal Election Commission and adviser to the process, said political parties in Myanmar laid a foundation for a political culture of collaboration and mutual trust in developing the document.
Based on principles agreed upon by all political parties last October, an ad hoc working committee including the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), National League for Democracy (NLD) and National Unity Party (NUP) drafted the code. After undertaking a consultative meeting of all parties in March, the UEC reviewed the draft in April. It was accepted by all parties in May for signing today.
Arakan National Party chairman Dr Aye Maung stressed the importance of adherence to the code for the sake of peaceful and fair elections.
“I acknowledge the need for the code of conduct for parties and candidates in the run up to, during and after elections,” the Upper House MP said.
U Tun Tun Hein, a senior NLD official who signed the document at the ceremony, also expressed his view that political parties must adhere to the code.
The general election is slated for November, but an exact date has yet to be set.
According to sources, the election date and constituencies are expected to be announced next month. GNLM

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