President U Win Myint met with the Union Election Commission Chairman U Hla Thein, Union Ministers, the Attorney-General of the Union, and UEC members at the Presidential Palace guest hall in Nay Pyi Taw at 10 am yesterday and gave them instructions and guidance to ensure that the 2020 General Election is free and fair.
The meeting was also attended by Union Ministers U Min Thu, Lt-Gen Soe Htut, Lt-Gen Sein Win, Lt-Gen Ye Aung, U Kyaw Tin, Dr Pe Myint, U Thant Sin Maung, U Thein Swe, Dr Myo Thein Gyi, Dr Myint Htwe and Dr Win Myat Aye, Attorney-General of the Union U Tun Tun Oo, and UEC members U Aung Myint, U Soe Rae, U Tun Khin, U Hla Tint, U Myint Naing, U Than Htay, U Nyunt Sein, U Thet Tun, U Myint Aung, U Saw Daniel Kyi, U Aung Soe Win, U Than Aung, U Min Swe and U Swe Tint Lwin.
In his speech, President U Win Myint emphasized the need to make the 2020 Multi-party Democracy General Election on 8 November free and fair as the government has determined to develop Myanmar into a democratic country, so the multi-party democracy general election is essential.
The Union Election Commission has set five criteria for the elections. The elections must be free in accordance with the law, fair in accordance with the law, transparent, trustworthy, and the election results must reflect the desires of the voters.
In accordance with the five criteria, the UEC officials need to be impartial and exert efforts in the electoral processes. Relevant ministries also need to provide assistance in the electoral processes. According to the electoral laws, citizens, associate citizens and naturalized citizens have the right to vote. It is important that eligible voters must not lose their right to vote. Losing the right to vote is losing the right of a citizen, or a natural right. In other words, it is losing human rights. So, the Union Election Commission and all relevant departments must help them not to lose the right to vote.
Military personnel, citizens living abroad, and the disabled persons must not lose their right to vote. And in safeguarding their right to vote, officials need to do it in accordance with the law. The advance-voting process needs to be in accordance with laws, by-laws and regulations. Votes must be counted systemically and transparently in the presence of polling station staff, polling station representatives and the general public.
Legal actions must be taken against those who commit electoral crimes, such as denying people the right to vote or the right to be elected, threats related to the election, abuse of power, cheating, bribery and corruption, inappropriate acts based on racial and religious hatred, delivering inappropriate speeches, issuing inappropriate statements, inciting, and any efforts to disturb the election, so that the election will be free and fair.
All officials need to make systematic arrangements for eligible voters living in foreign countries and advance-voting process. Ward/Village Administrators, as well as officials of the Department of Immigration and the Department of Population need to continue taking efforts to make the list of eligible voters to be exact, correct and reliable. Relevant ministries need to inform the Union Election Commission about the situations in their areas and security reviews in the areas. And all relevant officials need to help the voters who are outside their eligible constituencies for advance voting in accordance with the rules. He also suggested broadcast of TV series and songs for voter education, newspapers coverage of UEC’s directives, announcements and orders not to lose their citizen rights to vote. The President called for coordination between the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population and the General Administration Department in identifying eligible voters who have no national registration cards although they have reached 18 years of age; to issue official documents of family members in line with rules and regulations; coordination in duty assignment of teachers as poll station officials; training courses on law and by-laws for them in collaboration with the Union Election Commission; health workers to help in organizing the elections in line with the rules of COVID-19 control measures; communication authorities to prevent hate speech and the words that harm national unity.
The President finally instructed legal officers from the Office of Attorney-General of the Union to provide legal advice to the election sub-commissions, to perform as trainers in the courses of election commissions, to ensure legitimacy of reports on electoral cost, and all these processes could help in organizing free and fair elections.
Chairman of UEC U Hla Thein reported his commission’s works for organizing a fair, free and transparent election, tasks of sub-commissions and lack of staff members, the need for cooperation by the relevant ministries and the work plans for post COVID-19. The Union Ministers and the Attorney-General of the Union presented their ideas for successful completion of the 2020 General Election. The President made a concluding remark on adhering to the law and rules in organizing a free and fair election.—MNA (Translated by Maung Maung Swe, Aung Khin)