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Home > Main Library > Politics and Government > Elections (Burma) > International organisations concerned with elections > Multiparty elections - theory, practice, analysis, monitoring and assistance

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Multiparty elections - theory, practice, analysis, monitoring and assistance

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Inter-Parliamentary Union
Description/subject: Very useful site. IPU resolutions on Burma/Myanmar and lists of detained MPs-elect plus links to all parliamentary websites and more. For the IPU Council resolutions on Burma and lists of detained MPs-elect by year, search for Myanmar AND 157th for the first session online, Myanmar AND 166th for the April 2000 session and so on. Then click on the results you want.
Language: English
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
Description/subject: (International IDEA). Search for Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi etc.
Language: English
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Individual Documents

Title: Suu Kyi shifts pre-election tack in Myanmar
Date of publication: 12 June 2014
Description/subject: "After two years of delicate accommodation, Myanmars military backed government and the main pro-democracy opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) are on a collusion course ahead of general elections scheduled for next year. An NLD-led campaign launched last month to amend the 2008 constitution is openly challenging the militarys political power and testing political stability ahead of the pivotal polls. The national drive for charter change aims broadly to accelerate the countrys still tentative transition from decades of authoritarian military rule towards democracy. In particular, the campaign is geared towards diminishing the role of military appointees to parliament who currently control 25% of its seats. The campaign however is not geared towards changing article 59(f), which bars NLD leader and pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi from assuming the presidency because she was married to a foreign national."
Author/creator: Larry Jagan
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Asia Times Online"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 June 2014

Title: Myanmar could learn from Germany
Date of publication: 04 October 2013
Description/subject: "A more proportional, mixed-member electoral system could enhance representation and stability, protecting the young democracy’s inchoate parliamentary transition. Myanmar’s electoral commission must consider reforming the electoral systems to accomplish three goals: (a) maximizing ethnic representation and proportionality; (b) guaranteeing political stability and peace; and (c) ensuring a political majority of party leaders in parliament can still have the appropriate authority to enact legislation and advance policy actions. The ideal electoral system for Myanmar’s 2015 general elections would be akin to Germany’s: a Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) one, with one house electing members of Parliament (MPs) by means of plurality elections in regional districts and the other by proportional representation (PR) using a party list. Under the current SMD plurality vote, the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), which swept the 1990 elections and still commands widespread popularity, stands poised to win a landslide victory at the polls in the upcoming 2015 General Elections. In the wake of 1990’s elections, the military junta annulled the ballot results and refused to hand over power, imprisoning and torturing many of their political leaders, and sentencing party leader Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Burma’s independence movement, General Aung San, to 15 of 21 years under house arrest. Given the likelihood of the incumbent USDP’s loss to the NLD in 2015, the USDP, working with other political parties and the Union Electoral Commission (UEC), should vote to amend the current electoral system and adopt a Mixed Member Proportional System. MMP, on the other hand, promises greater proportionality while still favoring a clear majority. Many of the current MPs, particularly in the two largest parties, the USDP and the NLD, may resist electoral reform, fearing they will lose their slice of the parliamentary pie, but, ironically, it is the largest party, the USDP, which has the most to fear were Myanmar to keep the current elections system. MMP could in fact be the USDP’s best hope of avoiding an all-out loss to the opposition on election day. A mixed member election system may be Myanmar’s best chance for its conflict prone democracy to survive over the long run...."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 16 July 2014

Title: Virtuality, Perception and Reality in Myanmar’s Democratic Reform
Date of publication: August 2012
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Since the summer of 2011, the country of Myanmar has been experiencing rapid democratic reform. Headlines lauding these positive changes have become commonplace in the international media. However, experts and academics who have been involved in the decade-long campaign to bring peace and democracy to Myanmar remain divided over how sincere these changes are. Some accuse the Government of carrying out “window-dressing” reforms to please the Western governments and enable the lifting of sanctions. They argue that the Government has a vested interest in maintaining the reins of power and that there is no incentive to make true democratic reforms. During a speech in Oslo in June 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmarese Pro-democracy leader described the recent reforms as positive but warned against blind faith in the process and pointed out the main challenges that remain unresolved – namely the ethnic issues and the ongoing imprisonment of political prisoners. This Geneva Paper will posit that the current reforms are a means for Myanmar’s Government to ensure the continuity of military power in a different guise in order to allow engagement with the international community, rather than a case of democratic reform for the sake of democratization itself. The reason that the Government is so keen to engage with foreign governments and companies after years of isolation, is the incentive of the lifting of all sanctions, as well as a diversification in both business opportunities and aid following years of sole reliance on China. From a Western perspective there is widespread enthusiasm for engagement with Myanmar. This is driven not only by businesses, who are lining up to profit from Myanmar’s resources, but also by the fact that a market democratic Myanmar would break potential proliferation links with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and fit geo-strategically with the United States’ widely proclaimed Pacific Century. The paper will start by analysing the election and pre-election period 2008-10 in order to identify to what extent the recent evolution in Myanmar is a form of virtual politics as opposed to real democratic transition. Virtual politics can be defined as a way of directing democracy which is a step ahead of electoral fraud. Virtual politics goes beyond the stuffing of ballot boxes. It is creating the impression that the framework and mechanisms of a democratic state are in place but in fact behind the scenes it is the same elite holding the reins of power and directing what happens within the country. It will then identify what true democratic change would look like in the context of Myanmar. To do so it will use relevant key indicators to evaluate whether the country is on the path to democratic transition or whether there are more virtual politics at play. The paper will conclude that the situation unfolding within the country should not be taken at face value and that whilst there are clearly visible reforms underway these have yet to be institutionalized and legitimized. Due to the current nature of this subject and the lack of primary sources available, interviews with a wide range of experts, both inside Myanmar and abroad, provide the main body of the research. The interviews allow for an in-depth analysis of the apparent reforms to reach a conclusion upon where real democratic change is being evidenced and where the Government of Myanmar is shaping perceptions through its smart use of virtual politics."
Author/creator: Victoria Christensen
Language: English
Source/publisher: Geneva Centre for Security Policy
Format/size: pdf (520K-reduced version; 1.1MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Publications/Detail/?lng=en&id=152123
Date of entry/update: 07 June 2015

Title: Ensuring Free and Fair Elections in a Democratic Burma: Establishing an Electoral System and Election Processes
Date of publication: April 2001
Description/subject: "A country embarking on a transition to democracy has many issues to deal with. One of the most critical is the question of elections, the type of system chosen and the manner in which elections are conducted.1 Free and fair elections are necessary to establish a democratic, human rights-based society, and to ensure that the government and the state are legitimate.2 The right to vote is an instrument of power for both the voter and the state. When giving the people the right to vote, it is necessary to determine who is permitted to vote, and to regulate the exercise of the vote through a system which could include legislation and ways of verifying the identity of people. Such a system helps to prevent non-resident citizens from voting, and to exclude residents who do not qualify to vote. In some countries, for example, prisoners may not vote..."
Author/creator: Jeremy Sarkin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Legal Issues on Burma Journal" No. 8 (Burma Lawyers' Council)
Alternate URLs: The original (and authoritative) version of this article may be found in http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Legal%20Issues%20on%20Burma%20Journal%208.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003