In the wake of the landmark November parliamentary elections in Myanmar, political parties, observers, and the Union Election Commission (UEC) have convened discussions to reflect on the successes and failures of those elections. While these elections represented an outstanding achievement, especially given the context in which they were held, numerous challenges remain to build a strong and resilient electoral process for elections to come. One aspect of the electoral process that has received relatively little attention is campaign finance, and its related challenge, political party finance.
To address gaps in the campaign and party finance regulatory framework, DIPD commissioned a study by independent consultant Aung Tun on party perspectives on campaign and party finance in the recently concluded electoral process. The study identified a number of areas of campaign and party finance for reform, and also made proposals to make the system more transparent, credible and egalitarian. Some of the ideas proposed included: considering public finance for candidates or parties as a means to create a more level playing field; promoting better enforcement of campaign and party finance regulation through auditing of expenditure reports; and making the campaign finance expenditure reporting processes easier for candidates and parties.
On 20th May, DIPD convened discussions with political parties and civil society to present the findings of its research and promote dialogue and consensus-building on reform of campaign and party finance. At these discussions, co-sponsored by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, DIPD and IDEA highlighted the results of their studies on campaign and party finance and listened to feedback and exchange of ideas among political parties. At the end of the session, parties agreed to establish a working group to continue discussion on the issues and make proposals to the UEC and other stakeholders for reform.
The following week, DIPD and IDEA made a joint presentation of their findings to the new Chairperson and Commissioners of the Union Election Commission in Nay Pyi Taw on 23rd May. The subsequent discussion was lively and provided an opportunity to exchange ideas on possible reforms and their timing. DIPD and IDEA will continue to work together with parties, the UEC, observers, and other stakeholders from civil society to explore possibilities for party and campaign finance reform.
Read more about DIPD’s work in Myanmar, where we are part of the EU supported STEP Democracy Programme.
Contact DIPD’s Myanmar Country Coordinator, Khin Thazin Myint: email@example.com
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