Ana Gomes MEP on the General Elections in Myanmar
Ana Gomes (S&D, PT) Chair of the European Parliament Election Observation Delegation for the general elections in Myanmar, issued the following statement:
"Our seven MEPs delegation met, prior to the Election Day, in Yangon with members of political parties, the media and civil society, including human rights defenders and ethnic minority representatives. Everywhere we went we received an exceptionally friendly reception.
This Delegation was integrated within the framework of the European Election Observation Mission (EOM) and I would like to thank my colleague, Alexander Lambsdorff, the EOM Chief Observer and his team, for the excellent cooperation during this period.
The European Parliament delegation fully supports and endorses the preliminary findings and conclusions of the Observer Mission. Of particular concern to our Delegation is the constitutional framework which is underpinning these elections, including the fact that 25% of the seats in the Parliament are reserved for the military. We also believe, as the EU EOM pointed out, that counting and tabulation are a crucial part of the election process to ensure its integrity.
On the Election Day we observed voting in the Yangon, Bago and Ayeyarwaddy regions, from the opening to the closing of activities, as well as the vote count. We were impressed by the calm and peaceful atmosphere, the professionalism of the staff in the polling stations and of the organisation of the process. We welcome the fact that a high number of Myanmar citizens - notably young people - exercised their right to vote, and with no apparent interference from the police. We particularly applaud the prominent role played by women, as well as young teachers, as staff in the polling stations.
However, we noted the problems of registration which led to the disenfranchisement of a significant number of citizens, particularly from certain ethnic minorities and groups. We trust that the newly elected government will improve the democratic governance of the country and promote a more inclusive society by addressing the increase in religious extremism and radicalisation and its effect on certain minorities and ethnic groups, in particular Muslim citizens - and specifically the Rohingyas.
We congratulate the people of Myanmar and we will continue to support the democratisation of this country. Now is the time to seize the opportunity for reconciliation in Myanmar. We look forward to the final results of the elections being accepted by all. We will work especially to strengthen the cooperation between our Parliaments, with a view to enhancing democratic oversight in Myanmar"