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Union Election Commission

Newsletter

July - September, 2013. Volume I, Issue 1

Greetings  from  the  Chairman “I  am  happy  to  launch  UEC’s  Jirst  newsletter  highlighting  some  of  our  work  in  the  past  few  months.  We   have  been  focused  on  the  strategic  planning  process.  We  look  forward  to  feedback  from  political  parties   and  civil  society  organizations  on  our  draft  in  the  next  few  weeks.  UEC  is  taking  seriously  criticisms  and   deJiciencies  and  we  hope  to  address  them  in  preparations  for  the  2015  elections  which  is  only  two  years   from  now.  We  all  have  to  work  together  to  make  these  elections  credible  and  inclusive.” Chairman U Tin Aye

Featured  Events UEC  drafting  5-­‐Year  Strategic  Plan  

Voter  Registration  Assessment  conducted

The  Union  Election  Commission  began  its  strategic  planning   process  in  July  2013  and  after  consultation  with  political   parties  and  civil   society   organizations  and  it   will  be  publicly   available  on  UEC’s   forthcoming  website   in  early  2014.  The   UEC  formed  a   strategic  planning   committee  of  senior   staff  supported  by  a   Member of the Strategic Planning Working Group working  group  and   explaining the 8 Steps of the strategic planning cycle facilitated  by  the   International  Foundation  for  Electoral  Systems  (IFES)  with   the  goal  of  producing  a  Jive-­‐year  strategic  plan  over  a  six   month  period.  The  strategic  plan  will  include  vision,  mission   and  guiding  principles,  with  12  detailed  strategic  goals  and   activities,  work  plans  and  budgets  with  clear  responsibilities   for  each  department,  and  a  section  to  monitor  the  UEC’s   performance  in  implementing  the  plan.  This  draft  strategic   plan  has  been  shared  with  external  stakeholders  to  gather   written  feedback  in  October  and  conduct  face-­‐to-­‐face   consultation  in  November.  UEC  will  compile  and  consider  all   suggestions  before  Jinalizing  the  Strategic  Plan  due  to  be   launched  in  January  2014.

Voter  registration  is  a  critical  step  in  guaranteeing  suffrage.   The  UEC  undertook  a  full  assessment  of  the  voter  registration   system  in   partnership  with   IFES.  This   assessment  included   discussions  with  UEC   headquarters  and   Jield  staff,  the   Ministry  of   Immigration  and   Population,  the   General   Assessment team talking to Ward/Village sub-commision Administration   at Maha Aung Myay township, in Mandalay Department  and  a   Jield  visit  to  Mandalay  to  observe  the  registration  process  at   the  Jield  level.  IFES  Voter  Registration  expert,  Michael  Yard,   ran  a  two-­‐day  Voter  Registration  workshop  in  the  UEC  on   international  principles  of  voter  registration,  differences   between  census  data  and  civil/voter  registries,  different  types   of  registration,  issues  with  advance  voting  and  the  use  of   technology  for  aggregating  and  migrating  data.  The   recommendations  from  this  assessment  include:  centralizing   and  computerizing  the  voters  list  at  township  level,  state/ region  and  national  level;  building  the  capacity  of  the  UEC,  IT   and  Voter  Registration  departments;  training  UEC  staff  at   township  level  on  data  entry;  and  creating  cost  effective  and   sustainable  database  for  updating  the  voters  list  for  elections   in  2015  and  future  elections.

High  Pro3ile  visits   Former  US  President  Mr.  Jimmy  Carter,  Mr.  Martti  Ahtisaari  and  Dr.  Gro  Harmlem  Brundtland  visit  the  UEC.   The  UEC  chairman  met  members  of  the  Elders  at  his  office  in  Naypyitaw  on  September  25,  including  Mr.  Jimmy  Carter,  former   President  of  the  United  States;  Mr.  Martti  Ahtisaari,  former  President  of  Finland,  and  Nobel  Peace  Laureate;  and  Dr.  Gro  Harlem   Brundtland,  former  Prime  Minister  of  Norway,.  They  discussed  the  electoral  system,  participation  of  women  and  ethnic  minorities  in   parliament,  plans  to  invite  international    observers  to  elections  here  in  2015  and  study  tours  in  electoral  processes  of  other  countries.

Madeleine  Albright,  former  Secretary  of  States,  greets  the  Chairman In  June,  Former  Secretary  of  State  Madeleine  Albright,  chairperson  of  the  National  Democratic  Institute  (NDI),  and  US   Ambassador  Mr.  Derek  Mitchell  met  with  the  UEC  Chairman  and  the  commissioners  to  discuss  the  work  processes  of  the   commission  to  hold  free  and  fair  elections  in  2015.

Sir  Robert  Cooper,  EU  High  Representative  for  Foreign  Affairs  and  Security  Policy Sir  Robert  Cooper  met  with  the  UEC  Chairman  on  July  23  and  September  24,  and  discussed  EU’s  assistance  to  hold  free  and   fair  elections  in  the  2015  and  sharing  knowledge  and  experience  on  elections.

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Workshops  and  Assessments  Conducted Over  the  past  months,  the  UEC  collaborated  with  IFES  on  a  number  of  assessments  on  Voter  Registration,   Information  and  Communication  Technology  and  the  Legal  Framework.  UEC  also  held  workshops  on  External   Relations  and  Gender  &  Elections.

 Legal  Review

UEC’s legal working group sharing insights for reviewing regulations in the legal framework

The  UEC  formed  a  Legal  Working  Group  to  review  priority  issues  with  IFES  Legal  Expert   David  Ennis  during  workshops  at  the  UEC  Training  Center  on  September  4  and  5.  Items   discussed  included  international  obligations;  the  difference  between  regulations,  laws  and   constitutional  amendments;  and  ten  key  areas  identiJied  by  IFES  for  improvement.  The   UEC  participants  included  several  commissioners  who  offered  insight  into  achievable   changes  prior  to  the  2015  election,  which  would  include  clariJication  on  political  party   Jinance,  reviewing  advance  voting  procedures  to  have  more  transparency,  more  awareness   about  electoral  dispute  resolution  as  well  as  improving  election  day  procedures  in  terms  of   integrity  measures,  such  as  seals  on  ballot  boxes,  inking  voters’  Jingers  to  prevent  double   voting  and  posting  results  at  the  polling  station  to  increase  transparency.  In  addition,   issues  regarding  gender  equality  and  accessibility  for  persons  with  disabilities  were   considered.

 External  Relations

UEC staff brainstorming Public Relations strategies in preparation for upcoming elections

Communications  expert  Marguerite  Sullivan  from  the  National  Endowment  for   Democracy  (NED)  conducted  the  External  Relations  and  Communications  workshop  for   UEC’s  senior  ofJicials  and  the  future  team  of  UEC  External  Relations  department.  She   shared  her  global  knowledge  and  experience  from  her  work  at  the  State  department,   international  organizations  and  as  a  journalist.  The  workshop  covered  developing   contact  lists  and  fact  sheets,  drafting  press  releases  and  roleplaying  a  press  conference.   The  UEC  is  currently  in  the  Jinal  stages  of  developing  its  website  in  Myanmar  and   English  for  launch  in  January  2014.  The  website  will  present  news  and  update  of  UEC   activities,  highlight  meetings  with  stakeholders  and  publish  electoral  laws,  results  and   the  Strategic  Plan.  This  UEC  Newsletter  is  the  Jirst  product  of  the  External  Relations   department  and  will  be  available  in  print  and  soon  online  with  the  launch  of    UEC’s   website.  The  next  quarterly  issue  will  cover  October  to  December  2013.

Assessing  UEC’s  ICT  Capacity

UEC’s newly formed IT department discussing their needs in upgrading UEC’s IT infrastructure

An  ICT  assessment  of  the  UEC  was  conducted  from  July  1  to  5  to  gauge  the  baseline  of   current  IT  infrastructure  and  make  recommendations  for  modernization  in   preparation  for  the  2015  elections.  To  facilitate  the  assessment,  the  UEC  identiJied  its   most  skilled  IT  staff  and  through  a  series  of  discussions  with  IFES  Election  IT  Expert   Michael  Burke  they  reviewed  different  aspects  of  election  IT  management.  This   review  included:  election  and  organizational  IT  projects,  management  and  capacity   concerns,  basic  system  architecture  and  support,  and  the  technologies  and  tools  an   IT  department  must  rely  on  to  develop  resilient,  sustainable  election  systems.  Since   this  assessment,  the  UEC  has  established  its  own  IT  department  which  has  been   working  on  a  strategy  to  modernize  and  upgrade  UEC’s  ICT  infrastructure  and  build   capacity  to  have  more  effective  internal  and  external  communication.  Further  down   the  road,  UEC  aims  to  develop  applications  for  voter  registration,  registering  parties   and  candidates,  accrediting  observers,  tracking  complaints  and  managing  results.

EU  conducts  Regional  Training  with  UEC   The  European  Union  Electoral  Support  Team  (EUEST),   Xavier  Noc  and  Ruth  Meyer,  together  with  a  team  of  UEC   trainers,  have  continued  to  conduct  two-­‐day  workshops  for   UEC  staff  in  the  region  and  state  capitals.  Topics  include  an   understanding  of  the  necessity  for  credibility  in  elections,   the  development  of  some  principles  of  electoral   administration,  and  the  application  of  those  principles  to   working  with  stakeholders  such  as  voters,  observers,  media   and  marginalized  groups.  So  far  the  team  has  conducted   workshops  in  Mandalay,  Naypyitaw,  Kachin,  with   workshops  being  planned  for  Sagaing,  Kayah,  Rakhine,   Kayin,  Tanintharyi,  Mon  and  Shan  during  October  and   November  and  for  other  states  and  regions  in  December.

Electoral  Systems  Design International  IDEA  Director  of  Asia-­‐Pacific,  Andrew  Ellis   presented  to  the  UEC  the  publication  "Electoral  Systems  Design   Overview"  translated  into  Myanmar  language  and  was  used   subsequently  for  seminars  on  the  topic;   learning  more  about  majoritarian,  proportional   and  mixed  systems.  Participants  from  political   parties,  CSOs  and  media  attended  the  seminars   from  July  16  to  18,  which  were  organized  by   Myanmar  Multi  Party  Democracy  Programme   with  Tom  Cormier  (IDEA)  and  Paul  Guerin   (IFES)  as  guest  speakers.  The  publication  can   be  downloaded  for  free  at:   http://www.idea.int/publications/esd/bu.cfm

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UEC  Spotlight   Dr.  Daw  Myint  Kyi,  the  only  women  among  six  UEC  commissioners, was  a  Professor  in  the  Department  of  International  Relations,  Yangon  University.  She  was  also   President  of  the  Myanmar  Women’s  Affairs  Federation.  In  the  UEC,  she  is  currently  chairing  the   Strategic  Planning  Committee  (SPC)  and  has  worked  with  women’s  civil  society  organizations  to   mainstream  gender  in  the  UEC’s  forthcoming  strategic  plan. Commissioner Dr. Daw Myint Kyi

UEC  Training  Center  established

Training Center can host up to 30 participants for group activity based workshops

The  UEC  Chairman  envisioned  training  as  a  key  component  of  UEC’s  work  in  preparing  for   elections.  With  assistance  from  IFES  and  USAID,  a  large  room  in  the  UEC  building  was   transformed  into  a  fully  functional  training  center  -­‐  equipped  with  furniture,  air-­‐conditioning,   audio  visual  teaching  and  learning  aids,  and  resource  materials.  The  new  Training  Center  was   launched  on    May  29,  2013  with  the  “Voter  Registration  Assessment  Workshop,”  attended  by   the  newly  appointed  ofJicers  and  heads  of  the  region/state  sub  commissions.  In  only  three   months,  six  workshops  have  been  held  on  various  topics  with  different  participants.  Its  doors   are  hardly  closed,  and  it  has  acted  as  a  catalyst  for  learning  and  sharing  experiences  between   UEC  staff  and  CSOs.  The  Training  Center  also  houses  a  small  library  and  space  for  online   research  and  an  ofJice  for  the  new  Training  department  to  be  established.

Making  UEC’s  Training  Methodology  more  Participatory In  an  effort  to  improve  methodology   for  upcoming  cascade  training  and   voter  education  outreach,  the  UEC   hosted  the  Jirst  Building  Resources  in   Democracy,  Governance  and  Elections   (BRIDGE)  Train-­‐the-­‐Facilitator   workshop  in  Myanmar  from  July  22  to   August  3,  2013.  Uniquely,  this   workshop  was  facilitated  by  both  co-­‐ founders  of  BRIDGE,  Ross  Attrill  and   Paul  Guerin.  To  encourage  gender  and  

Women teachers from different ethnic communities from around the country learned interactive training methodology and participatory learning techniques in a Train-the-Facilitator course

diversity,  participants  included  a   female  teacher  from  each  region  and   state  who  speaks  an  ethnic  language  of   that  state,  seconded  from  the  Ministry   of  Education;  a  representative  from  the   Myanmar  Independent  Living  Institute,   a  disability  rights  organization;  and  six   national  UEC  staff  who  will  form  the   basis  of  the  new  Training  and  Voter   Education  Departments.After  the   training,  participants  were  ready  to   apply  techniques  they  had  learned  in   the  BRIDGE  workshop  during  training   for  the  UEC,  as  well  as  in  their   classrooms.  “This  experience  was  very   meaningful  for  me,”  said  Sai  Kyaw  Thu,   a  participant  from  the  UEC.  “This   training  motivated  me  to  be  able  to   speak  out  and  share  everything  I  

learned  to  others.  It  was  a  valuable   training.”  said  Nang  Chan  Myae  Thu,  a   teacher  from  Pa  Oh  community.  This  train   the  facilitator  workshop  established  a   gender-­‐balanced  and  regionally-­‐diverse   core  group  of  facilitators  to  assist  the  UEC   with  regional  voter  education  and   training.  The  UEC  Chairman  U  Tin  Aye   closed  the  workshop  with  the  following   remarks,  “There  are  many  changes  in   politics,  economics  and  peace  building  in   Myanmar.  In  this  political  transition   process,  we  are  still  trying  to  be  a  strong   democratized  country.  The  election  is  one   of  the  inevitable  steps  for  this   democratization  process.”.  These   participants  received  BRIDGE  certiJicates   and  the  ceremony  was  covered  by   Myanmar  State  Television.  The  training   was  facilitated  by  IFES  and  funded  USAID.

UEC  Promotes  the   Participation  of  Women  in   the  Electoral  Process   Inclusion  of  women  in  the  political  and   electoral  process  is  critical  in  transitional   democracies  but  needs  strategies  and   concrete  actions  to  improve  equality.  From   September  17-­‐19,  the  UEC  hosted  a  Gender   and  Elections  BRIDGE  workshop  facilitated   by  an  inclusion  specialist,  Yvonne  Goudie   to  encourage  the  inclusion  of  women  in  all   aspects  of  the  electoral  process.   Participants  included  18  representatives  of   civil  society  organizations  and  9   representatives  of  the  Union  Election   Commission  (UEC).  CSO  representatives   worked  directly  to  develop  strategies  for   increasing  women’s  participation  with  UEC   staff  during  the  Gender  and  Elections   BRIDGE  module.  During  the  3-­‐day  module,   participants  discussed  barriers  to  women’s   participation  and  created  an  electoral  cycle  

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Women’s Organizations and UEC staff working together on strategies for promoting women’s participation in elections

through  a  gender  lens.  SpeciJic   priority  issues  identiJied  included   inclusion  of  women  in  the  voter   registration  process,  increasing  voter   education  targeting  women,  and   increasing  the  role  of  women  in   political  parties  and  the  UEC.  The   participants  developed  strategies  for   the  UEC  and  CSOs  to  address  different   groups  of  Myanmar  women,  including   ethnic,  rural,  young,  internally   displaced  women  and  women  with   disabilities.  Other  strategies  suggested   increasing  the  number  of  women   candidates  and  the  potential  use  of   temporary  special  measures  or   quotas.  “I  immediately  shared  the   knowledge  I  got  from  this  training  to   members  of  my  organization  as  soon  as   I  arrived  back  to  Yangon.”,    said  Mar   Ching  Pui  I,  Women  Organization   Network.  Meredith  Applegate  and  Aye   Yu  Thwe  from  IFES  co-­‐facilitated  and   became  accredited  BRIDGE  facilitators

Participants looking at the Electoral Cycle through gender lens and highlighting strategies to overcome barriers


Lessons  Learned  from  the  Regions Australia UEC  Commissioners  U  Myint  Naing  and  U  Win  Ko  went  to  Australia  as  part  of  Australian  Election  Commission’s  Visitors’   Program  supported  by  AusAID  from  September  3-­‐10  to  see  the  latest  parliamentary  elections.  They  were  inspired  by  the  trust   that  the  Australian  Election  Commission  and  the  election  itself  had  been  awarded  by  their  citizens.  “I  like  the  idea  of   distributing  two  different  colored  ballots  at  the  same  time,  one  for  House  of  Representatives  and  one  for  the  Senate.  It   saves  time,  costs  and  is  more  efJicient.  I  will  try  to  use  the  same  approach  for  our  future  elections.  It  is  feasible  and   relevant  for  our  country’s  context  too,”  said  U  Win  Ko.  Fourteen  Sub-­‐Commissioners,  one  from  each  state  or  region  were  also   part  of  this  Visitors’  Program  in  Queensland  and  returned  with  many  new  ideas.

Cambodia UEC  Chairman  U  Tin  Aye,  accompanied  by  Yangon  Sub-­‐Commissioner  U  Tin  Htay  visited  Cambodia  to  study  their  elections   from  July  26  -­‐  28.  The  Chair  noted  that  when  the  ballots  were  counted,  the  results  were  written  up  on  a  board.  Local  observer   groups  complained  that  the  National  Election  Commission  of  Cambodia  made  the  accreditation  process  difJicult.

Pakistan “I  learned  that  inclusiveness  and  participation  by  all  the  stakeholders  is  crucial  to  hold   the  credible,  free  and  fair  elections”,  says  U  Tin  Tun,  Director  General  of  the  UEC  who   joined  the  EU-­‐supported  delegation  to  observe  elections  in  Pakistan  from  May  6-­‐15.  UEC   Commissioner  U  Myint  Naing  and  Deputy  Director  Dr.  Tun  Tun  Oo  also  joined  the  tour  and   commented  it  was  a  great  experience  to  study  elections  in  a  country  like  Pakistan  and  they   learned  a  lot.  The  UEC  also  noted  the  use  of  numbered  plastic  seals  on  ballot  boxes  as  an   integrity  measure,  the  use  of  the  media  center  to  announce  results  speedily  and   transparently  and  how  international  observers  conduct  press  conferences  immediately   after  the  elections.   UEC delegation observing the polling station in action at a district in Pakistan

Philippines UEC  Commissioners  U  Aung  Myint  and  U  Nyunt  Tin  along  with  two  representatives  from   civil  society  organizations,  Nay  Lin  Soe  from  the  Myanmar  Independent  Living  Initiative   (MILI)  and  Myo  Zaw  Aung  from  the  Innovative  Academy,  accompanied  by  IFES  Country   Director  Paul  Guerin,  travelled  to  the  Philippines  from  October  22-­‐27  for  an  election  study   tour  supported  by  USAID.  They  met  with  election  ofJicials  and  representatives  of  civil   society  and  focused  on  substantive  lessons  on  key  areas  that  Myanmar  and  the  Philippines   are  commonly  addressing  in  their  respective  countries,  including:  legal  framework  and  the   structure  of  the  election  commission;  enforcing  campaign  Jinance  law;  improving  voter   registration;  the  pros  and  cons  of  automated  counting  and  results;  challenges  to   implementing  a  strategic  plan;  innovative  public  information  and  voter  education   strategies;  conducting  a  gender  audit  of  the  elections;  and  addressing  issues  of   accessibility  for  persons  with  disabilities;  and  the  importance  of  the  relationship  between   CSOs  and  the  election  commission.

UEC and CSO delegates met with the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines as part of their Electoral Study Tour

Upcoming  events  to  be  covered  in  the  next  issue: • Disability and Elections Workshop October  9  -­‐  10,  2013,  UEC  Training  Center,  Nay  Pyi  Taw  with  Disability  Persons  Organizations  and  UEC  staff • Global Elections Organization (GEO) Conference and launching of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) October  14  -­‐  17,  2013  Seoul,  Republic  of  Korea,  UEC  Chairman  and  Director  General   representing  Myanmar  among  a  peer  network  of  electoral  management  bodies  from  around  the  world • Face-to-face Consultation of the draft Strategic Plan with key stakeholders November  21-­‐22,  2013,  Yangon  with  UEC  Strategic  Planning  Committee,  CSOs  and  Political  Parties   • Elections observation in Nepal November  19,  2013,  UEC  Commissioner,  The  Carter  Center • Workshop on Political Finance November  26,  2013  with  UEC  at  UEC  Training  Center,  Nay  Pyi  Taw,   November  28-­‐30,  Yangon  with  CSOs  and  Political  Parties • Regional Training of UEC Sub Commissions completed December,  2013 Please contact UEC External Relations Department for any inquiries or information: Email: info@uec.gov.mm Phone: (95) 67 404404 Fax: (95) 67 404405

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Uec newsletter july september 2013 en