As Yangon concludes its municipal level electoral reforms, Myanmar also continues on its path to decentralization in municipalities across the country. In order to enhance this process and to strengthen democratic municipal election frameworks in States and Regions, STEP Democracy partners Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD) and Democracy Reporting International (DRI) and their partner, the New Myanmar Foundation (NMF) organized a series of multi-stakeholder municipal legal framework workshops in Monywa on 15-16 November and in Mandalay on 19-20 November, 2018.
After the enactment of the new Municipal law in Sagaing, the process for drafting the bylaws is now underway, including the bylaws for the municipal elections. Discussions held were noted by one representative of the Sagaing Municipal bylaw development committee to ‘be a great support for the development of the legal framework’.
Citing the importance of the decentralization process and the need for public consultation, U Tin Win, Chairman of Bill Committee of Mandalay’s regional parliament remarked that a public hearing will take place on the existing municipal law in December as the parliament wants to, ‘listen to the public in order to gain their feedback on the law.’ He further noted that, ‘such multi-stakeholder workshops supported by STEP Democracy help develop the future of democratic municipal elections through discussions on possible amendments to the legal framework’.
In order to ensure the discussions included a wide variety of perceptions, STEP Democracy brought together diverse representatives from political parties, civil society and governments to Monywa and Mandalay. Presentations on basic principles of international electoral frameworks laid the foundation for reflections on existing laws and by-laws and for discussions on possible amendments to them.
Over the course of the coming years, the STEP Democracy programme will continue its support to the governments and regional parliaments by providing technical support for the reform of the electoral legal frameworks as they move forward in reforms at the local level.