By-election candidates lectured on campaigning

Zarli Myint Oo, Chan Wai Soe
Election campaign training in Yangon on January 19. (Photo-EMG)

The Union Election Commission and international organisations have jointly lectured by-election candidates on electioneering at the Micasa Hotel in Yangon.

The Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance took part.

Tin Htun, director general of the commission, said: “We taught the candidates about their rights and guaranteed them that we would protect them. They also were informed about the regulations they have to comply with. We discussed about timing and schedule to prevent overlapping campaigns in one constituency.”

Candidates from 24 parties and seven independents attended the lecture and raised questions on ethical campaigning, methods and possible challenges in by-elections.

Reports suggest nearly 2.2 million constituents will vote and over 300 voters abroad will cast early ballots at by-elections scheduled for April 1.

Khin Thazin Myint, Myanmar's programme coordinator at the DIPD, said: “Our organisation has supported the country’s political parties since 2011. We have facilitated talks among parties and provided technical aid. We held this event under the supervision of the election commission to work out concerns and challenges the candidates have.”

The candidates said they were hopeful the by-elections would be free and fair and urged the election commission to be careful compiling voter lists.

A total of 95 candidates will run for 19 vacant seats in the Parliament and state and regional parliaments.

The commission told the candidates at a meeting early this month to hold clean campaigns and that it was still investigating over 40 misconduct reports from the general election in November 2015.

There were complaints over similarities in emblems of the parties and independents at the meeting claiming they would confuse the voters.

Translated by Nay Thiha