STEP Democracy in cooperation with CSOs’ Coalition on Municipal Laws, Bylaws and Policies hosted a stakeholder consultation workshop on the Election Framework on 14-15 August. The proposed Yangon City elections is a subject of great interest for city residents and all of us working to support Myanmar’s democratic transition. After the new Yangon City Development Laws came into effect on 28 June this year (now including universal suffrage, recognition of Campaign Finance, etc.), the stakeholders have shifted their focus to the new Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) Election Bylaws which will soon be issued. To ensure that all the concerns, inputs and recommendations of the stakeholders are heard and considered, representatives from a wide array of different backgrounds such as political parties, Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), CSOs, Yangon Region Election Sub-commission and MPs from Yangon Region Hluttaw attended the workshop and actively contributed their valuable inputs.
The workshop started off by giving a presentation on the provisions in the new Yangon Municipal Laws which governs the elections. Thereafter, DRI and DIPD jointly provided the audience with a comparative backdrop by presenting case studies on different legal frameworks found in Asia. The participants were then divided into smaller groups to discuss on areas related to the elections: 1) YCDC EMB’s Role, Duites and Mandates, 2) 3Voter Registration and Identification, 3) Candidate Nomination, 4) the Role of Political Parties and the Right to Recall, 5) Campaigning and Campaign Finance, Election Observation and Media, 6) Boundary Delimitation and Electoral System 7) Polling, Counting and Announcement of Results, 8) Advance Voting and Military Voting, 9) Electoral Dispute Resolution, 10Inclusiveness in YCDC Elections.
The participants actively engaged in the discussions in break-out sessions, providing many inputs that can be considered in the drafting process of the YCDC election bylaws. One participant stated that by “Providing the outline for the discussions, the discussions went smoothly.” Another participant said “I’m satisfied with the workshop since I got to hear different opinions through discussions with other stakeholders and parties.”
In the last session, International IDEA presented the next step of the reform process that the inputs collected in this workshop will be submitted to the International IDEA’s partner institution, YCDC, and that it will be ensured that those inputs will be considered by YCDC in drafting the new YCDC Election Bylaws.