As the 2015 elections were seen as an important turning point for Myanmar’s political transition, domestic and international groups showed strong interest in observing the elections. After concerted lobbying local civil society and international groups, the Union Election Commission (UEC) legalized observation for the first time in Myanmar’s history. In June 2015, UEC issued a regulation which allowed the domestic and international groups to observe all aspects of the electoral process. By election day, more than 12,000 domestic and some 1,000 international observers were accredited by UEC or sub-commissions, including thousands of party agents. The observers observed polling stations across the country, with unrestricted access, including polling stations inside military compounds. It was not possible to observe advance voting by the military. However, in general, the advance voting process did not have the same level of transparency as the main vote.
It was positive that the UEC opened the electoral process to independent domestic and international groups, allowing legal observation for the first time. However, several administration procedures and requirements made the process complex and timely for observer organizations, the UEC and sub-commissions. For instance, observer groups were required to submit a photo and signature of every individual observer several weeks before the election, creating a challenging and costly logistical task.
Final Report Myanmar Elections: 2015 Elections Observation Report, PACE, 2015,
The Myanmar Elections: Results and Implications, Crisis Group Asia Briefing No. 147, Dec 9 2015,
PDF : Burma’s April 1 Parliamentary By-Elections (IFES: 2012)
PDF : Brief report: Burma’s By-Elections: Still Short of International Standards (Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma)
PDF : Press Statement: The EU deploying an expert team for the by-elections in Myanmar (28 March, 2012)