Union Election Commission held a press conference on its organizing 2020 General Election at its headquarters in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
UEC member U Myint Naing and U Than Htay, together with its Director-General U Khin Maung Oo, explained the successful holding of the elections and issuing election results.
Transparency of elections
Speaking to the media, U Myint Naing confirmed transparency of elections, the voting hours from 6 am to 4 pm for normal conditions on the Election Day, counting of votes after all the voters cast their ballots before 4 pm, voting of the remaining voters, who have already reached the polling stations before 4 pm, the announcement of vote results in front of the representatives of Hluttaw candidates and independent voting of the voters.
Vote counting was carried out in front of electoral candidates of Hluttaw candidates, 10 voters at least and election observers; some media organizations broadcast live the vote-counting; objections can be made during the counting and polling station officers made decisions on cancelled ballots with sound reasons.
The number of supporting votes for respective candidates are registered in Form-16 which was then signed by polling station officers and representatives of the candidates; the five copies of this document are also distributed to the relevant officials—1 to Township election sub-commission, 2 to ward/village sub-commission, 1 to polling station officer and one at the polling station. And that, the vote results can be checked transparently after counting the ballots.
Advance vote counting
The respective township sub-commissions counted the advance ballots which reached the polling station before 4 pm, and it was witnessed by the Hluttaw candidates, their representatives or their designated representatives; the counting and registration of advance votes in Form-18 are transparently done like in the regular ballots.
Clear results in Form-19
The number of ballots in Form-16 from polling stations is combined with those in Form-18 from township election sub-commissions for registration in Form-19 which clearly mentioned the elected candidates and their parties.
Process of Announcing Election Results
The Region and State Election Sub-commissions have to announce the election results in accordance with Section 46 of the relevant Hluttaw Election Law. The number of votes received by the respective candidates except for the winning candidates were recorded, and the total number of votes and calculate the percentages before the results have been announced. The process will take time; that’s why the results could not be announced immediately. After calculations, the respective Region and State Election Sub-commissions will announce the results. After their announcements, the Union Election Commission will announce nationwide results. We conducted a similar process in 2015, and the process lasted for 10 days. Region and State Election Sub-commissions are working hard to announce the results as soon as possible. The Union Election Commission is also taking great efforts to announce the nationwide results as soon as possible.
Welcoming the election results
At present, several lists of winning candidates have been announced. All results will be announced within a week. The election results became obvious within a short time because they are transparent. Major parties welcomed the election results and issued statements acknowledging the results. Some parties have issued statements to say that they had some inconveniences during the election process, but they accepted the results. A major party that was established not too long ago said it was pleased with the elections and it accepted the results. Some other parties and candidates also welcomed the results.
We are happy to see that there are many political parties that welcome the winning candidates. These are very good habits in the practice of the democractic system. Some political parties encountered difficulties of accepting the results, but it occurred in a democratic way. The Union Election Commission announced that the general elections must meet the five criteria–free, fair, trustable, transparent and the results must reflect reality–in accordance with the election laws. The commission did not have any bias against/in favour of any party in holding of the general elections successfully with the five criteria.
The media also observed that the election was free. The election we held was really free. During the advance voting process, advance ballot boxes were obtained in the presence of relevant candidates, election commission officials and polling station staff members and the ballot boxes were kept in a secure manner and guarded by special security police. It was also announced that relevant candidates, relevant political parties and observers could visit the places to observe them at any time. The election was held as fairly as possible in accordance with the laws. The media has seen that the general elections were held in a transparent manner. Some major parties also acknowledge that the general elections were acceptable to the people. It is found that candidates and political parties also can accept the reliability of the election.
When foreign diplomatic organizations observed the electoral processes, they said they trusted in the reliability of the processes.
The UEC officials expressed thanks to all the voters, who eagerly cast their votes despite the COVID-19 pandemic and to the teachers working at the polling stations, polling station chiefs and polling station staff for their great efforts to hold the election successfully. They also expressed thanks to health workers, officials and staff members from the General Administration Department and volunteers who also work hard in the electoral processes. Special thanks to responsible officials and the media for their cooperation in making the elections reliable. Special thanks to the election security officers and special police officers who took care of the advance ballot boxes at polling stations. Special thanks also went to all the stakeholders who took great efforts together to make the election smooth. The Chairman of the Election Commission will hold a meeting with the media after announcing all the election results.
Questions by Media
Local and foreign media asked the UEC about the delay in announcing the election results, the matter related to candidates’ refusal to sign Form 19 by claiming that the election was not fair, how the Union Election Commission will respond to allegations that people under aged 18 voted in Mong Ton in Shan State, allegations that the number of people who actually voted was larger than the number of eligible voters in some constituencies, whether the advance voting processes were fair, allegations of electoral frauds, the delays in counting votes, the number of polling stations that have controversies, the demand for re-election, how the current election disputes will be resolved and other issues related to the general elections. The UEC member U Myint Naing answered the questions in detail.
Regarding the question about candidates’ refusal to sign Form 19, UEC member U Myint Naing said that according to the law, all the candidates have the responsibility to sign the Form 19, and the commission will take actions against them in accordance with the law. Allegations that the election was not fair are groundless allegations, and the commission has no plan to respond to them. Three major parties have issued statements welcoming the results. Such allegations can occur, and it is a nature of the practice of democracy.
Regarding the issue about the demand for re-election, the UEC officer said that the Union Election Commission has already held a free and fair election in accordance with the five criteria, and the election is acceptable to major parties and some parties.
Regarding the issue about allegations that the number of people who actually voted was larger than the number of eligible voters, the officer remarked as groundless allegations based on unreliable figures. He added that if the figures are reliable, it can be handled in accordance with the laws. —Myo Min Naing-MNA (Translated by Aung Khin, Maung Maung Swe)