Myanmar: Election Brings Country Closer to Democracy
In response to the parliamentary election held in Myanmar on November 8, Freedom House issued the following statement:
"The largely peaceful, landmark election in Myanmar represents a significant step toward a more representative democracy,” said Robert Herman, vice president for international programs. “This was the first time in more than 50 years that most voters in Myanmar could choose their leaders, but officials seriously undermined any claims that the elections were wholly free and fair, by refusing to give most Muslim candidates a place on the ballot and by not allowing members of the Rohingya Muslims to vote."
Nearly 80 percent of the country's eligible voters went to the polls to choose among more than 90 political parties and 6,000 candidates. Despite reports of irregularities related to early voting, subsequent reports indicate that the vote was free of widespread fraud.
In the weeks and months leading up to the election, more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims were stripped of their right to vote, and polls were cancelled in almost 600 townships across the country because of security concerns. In addition, close to 100 candidates, mostly Muslim, had their candidacy rejected.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.