Voter lists to go on dis­play first two weeks of Fe­bru­ary

The Myanmar Times - - News - SHOON NAING shoonnaing@gmail.com

VOTER lists for the 2017 by-elec­tion will be posted for pub­lic scru­tiny from Fe­bru­ary 1 to 14, the Union Elec­tion Com­mis­sion has an­nounced. Vot­ers are asked to dou­ble check their in­clu­sion on the list, as well as the cor­rect spell­ing of their name and ad­dress, at their lo­cal elec­tion com­mis­sion branch of­fice.

“The vot­ers are en­cour­aged to check the lists dur­ing those dates and con­trib­ute to the elec­tion process by mak­ing the nec­es­sary re­quests, com­plaints and cor­rec­tions,” the UEC said in an October 28 state­ment.

The voter lists will be col­lected dur­ing a one-month pe­riod start­ing from Novem­ber 1. The UEC is bas­ing the cat­a­logue on the names in­cluded in the 2015 gen­eral elec­tion. Up­dates will be made with of­fi­cials go­ing door-to-door in the con­stituen­cies tak­ing part in the up­com­ing by-elec­tion.

“We will make cor­rec­tions to the voter lists used in the pre­vi­ous elec­tion,” U Kaung Myat Hein Thu, deputy direc­tor of the UEC, told The Myan­mar Times on October 25.

The voter lists were a con­tentious part of the pre­vi­ous elec­tion, with the Na­tional League for Democ­racy at one point sug­gest­ing the his­toric poll be postponed pend­ing a large num­ber of cor­rec­tions. The NLD had re­leased an open let­ter to the UEC say­ing voter lists that went on dis­play in the sec­ond phase of the elec­toral roll project fea­tured er­ror rates rang­ing from 30 to 80 per­cent.

At an October 26 meet­ing with seven min­istries in Nay Pyi Taw, the UEC re­quested as­sis­tance in en­sur­ing the elec­tions are held freely and fairly.

“Al­though the 2015 gen­eral elec­tion was suc­cess­fully held, there were some weak­nesses, as well as strengths. Re­gard­ing the voter lists, even though there was no ma­jor prob­lem, there were is­sues with er­rors, so this time com­plete and cor­rect voter lists will be as­sured,” U Hla Thein told the par­tic­i­pants dur­ing the meet­ing.

The UEC has asked the for­eign min­istry to as­sist in the ar­range­ment of early vot­ing for those vot­ers who will be out­side of Myan­mar on the poll date of April 1, 2017.

The UEC also stated in the meet­ing that they will use the same polling sta­tions as the Novem­ber 2015 elec­tion. As most of the sta­tions were in ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion schools, the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion has been asked to co­or­di­nate sta­tion ar­range­ment.

“School teach­ers from the ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment will be asked to head and staff the polling sta­tion at the rel­e­vant school,” the UEC chair said dur­ing the October 26 meet­ing.

Can­di­dates hop­ing to con­test one of the races must reg­is­ter with the UEC be­tween Novem­ber 28 and De­cem­ber 7. The UEC will re­lease fi­nal can­di­date lists on Jan­uary 2 and the cam­paign pe­riod will run two months, from the end of Jan­uary un­til the end of March.

In to­tal, nine seats are avail­able in the Pyithu Hlut­taw, three seats in the Amyotha Hlut­taw, and seven seats in the state and re­gion leg­is­la­tures. Those con­stituen­cies are cur­rently lack­ing leg­isla­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

The two ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties, the NLD and Union and Sol­i­dar­ity Devel­op­ment Party (USDP), are con­firmed to take part in the race for all the va­cant seats.

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