Myanmar draws up strategic plan for 2015 poll

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 19, 2014 07:50 hrs

Yangon, March 19 (IANS) Myanmar's Union Election Commission (UEC) has drawn a strategic plan for holding the 2015 general elections in a free and fair manner, the state media reported Wednesday.

UEC Chairman U Tin Aye asked the commission to prepare well for the elections, slated for late 2015, Xinhua reported, citing the state media.

Seeking suggestions from political parties, U Tin Aye said the commission was striving to lay down rules for the election campaign.

He disclosed that the commission, in collaboration with the International Foundation for Election System (IFES), would conduct a pilot project on ballot collection in urban and rural areas and "unsafe" places in May.

Experts from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) would give more information on the election management system at a forum scheduled from Wednesday to Friday, he added.

The commission has drafted a "12-chapter strategy" for holding the 2015 elections, including a chapter calling for cooperation with civil society organisations which are to work as election observers.

Myanmar's last general election were held Nov 7, 2010, in which the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won the majority of the votes with its chairman U Thein Sein being elected as the country's president to lead the civilian government after five decades of military rule.

In April 2012, a by-election was held, in which the opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), won 43 out of 45 open parliamentary seats with its chairperson Aung San Suu Kyi occupying a seat of the House of Representatives or the lower house of parliament.

In the latest development, Myanmar set up a 31-member constitution amendment implementation committee Feb 3 for reviewing a report compiled and submitted by the Parliament's Joint Committee for Review of 2008 Constitution at the end of January.

The joint committee, formed earlier, claimed that it had received over 28,247 letters of suggestions from over 20 political parties, legal experts, government departments and military and civil societies.

The call for amendment includes that for Article 59-f in the constitution that was said to have been intentionally drawn up by the previous military government to block Aung San Suu Kyi from being eligible to run for presidential election.

The 194-page 15-chapter 2008 Constitution was promulgated by the previous military government in May 2008.

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