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Amendments to constitution necessary


A woman casts her vote at a polling station on 8 November, 2015. Photo: Hong Sar/Mizzima

The Carter Center, based in the US, has advised Myanmar that in order to achieve a full democracy that will enshrine the rights of all its citizens, constitutional amendments need to be made before the next election.

The suggestion included in a final report on the 2015 Election by The Carter Center launched yesterday at a press conference in Rangoon is just one of 30 constitutional amendments recommended before the 2020 Election.

The electoral process needs to be changed so twenty-five of parliamentary seats are not automatically allotted to the military, unfairly giving it an upper hand, the report said.

Soyia Ellism, ‎assistant director of communications at The Carter Center, said: “[Myanmar] needs to take caution with advanced voting in the next elections. There is a lack of transparency since advance votes can be bought.”

The Carter Center, started by former US president Jimmy Carter, advised the country to ensure accurate voters’ lists; better transparency in election management; and a fairer citizenship scrutinizing process.

During the last election, the Rohingya were denied voting rights. Ironically, during the 2010 Election—recognized as much less fair as the recent one—they had voting rights.

The report acknowledged that special recognition needs to be given to the persistent efforts of the Myanmar people who have continued to struggle for democracy despite suffering years of oppression.

During the 2015 Election Day, The Carter Center fielded 62 international observers from 25 countries at 245 polling stations. Since 1989, the center has observed over one-hundred elections. The election in Myanmar was its 101th observation.

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