UEC, CSOs take step to reduce electoral risks

The Union Election Commission and ballot observer organizations held a workshop Thursday to map out risks and potential problems arising from the upcoming general elections.
The aim of the workshop is to reduce problems that can happen before, during and after elections, especially in conflict zones, a participant from Kayin State said.
It is difficult for civil society organizations to observe the entire electoral process in some regions, while some voters there also have limited knowledge of their voting rights, he added.
The two-day workshop was opened by UEC Chairman U Tin Aye, with the participation of representatives from around 15 CSOs.
The workshop focused on internal factors including electoral procedures, trainings for CSOs and disseminating electoral knowledge among voters, as well as registering disputes, said U Thang Lam Pau of Chin State. During the workshop, participants discussed risk factors, including socio-economic circumstances of local people. Conflicts during transition of political power were identified as an area for concern, along with sex discrimination, criminal gang activity, human rights violations and unethical media practices.
The UEC and CSOs have gained in understanding of each other, as bothsides have relaxed some strict conditions for observing the upcoming General Election, breaking a number of deadlocks in February.
During the meeting between UEC and CSOs in February in Yangon, the UEC agreed that election observers should, rather than must, submit election observation reports, said U Han Shin Win, an advocate of Bade Dha Moe, who participated in the meeting.
CSOs felt the UEC had abolished some strict rules and removed burdens from the CSOs during the meeting, said Chan Nyein Aung, a participant from the Charity Oriented Myanmar.
Chairman of the Union Election Commission U Tin Aye pledged in February that the UEC will do the utmost to ensure a free and fair general election, slated for the last week of October or the first week of November 2015. He also called on political parties to cooperate with the UEC and to serve as checks and balances on each other so that the election can be free and fair.

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