Human Rights Watch: Myanmar election is essentially flawed

November 8 Parliamentary election in Myanmar is flawed and depriving its citizens of their right to vote freely, says Human Rights Watch

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

The opening of a joint parliament session in Naypyidaw, Burma on July 4, 2012.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday said Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, parliamentary election on November 8, 2015 will have some systematic and structural problems including mass disenfranchisement of voters in some parts of the country, inequality of registration laws and independent election commissions.

The HRW also added that the ruling party will undermined the free media in the country.

The upcoming nationwide elections in Myanmar are historic for the country, which had formerly been ruled for 50 years by the military. The country now has the opportunity to form a brand new political system. Political tensions have risen in Myanmar ahead of the elections, which will be held next Sunday.

“Long lines of voters on November 8 won’t make these fundamentally flawed elections free and fair,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW.

Myanmar's parliamentary election is the key test of the military-backed government’s commitment to reforms and to building a democratic state. This election, however, suffers from critical flaws, such as a biased election commission, a ruling party-dominated state media, and laws and policies preventing Rohingya and others from voting and standing as candidates,” he added.

There are some international standarts for a fair and free election process, such as rights to freedom of expression, universal and equal right to vote, the right to a secret ballot. But, according to Human Rights Watch, all of these and other international requirements and standards are missing from Myanmar’s election process.

Moreover, more than ten thousand people gathered in Myanmar’s largest city Yangon on Sunday, a week before the country votes in landmark elections, to support opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In 2010, 40 parties entered the election, some of which were ethnic parties.

Military backed Union Solidarity and Development Party declared a victory, by taking 259 of the 330 seats in the 2010 election.

TRTWorld and agencies