Political Parties To Sign Code of Conduct

By Network Media Group
Thursday, June 25, 2020

Political parties and electoral candidates contesting Burma’s 2020 general elections will sign a code of conduct (CoC) with the Union Election Commission (UEC) this Friday (June 26).

Myo Kyaw, general secretary of Arakan League for Democracy (ALD), told NMG that all the registered political parties will sign the CoC tomorrow (June 26) at the Melia Hotel in Yangon during a two-day long meeting with the UEC.

Sai Lek, general secretary of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), says the first CoC was developed about five years ago. “The Swiss embassy organized the political parties in drawing up the principles for the CoC,” he says, explaining they are based on electoral rules for the conduct of political parties in Western nations.

Myo Kyaw says CoC was written in 2014, and used in the 2015 election. On Friday, they will sign the updated version.

Kachin National Congress (KNC) Chair Dr. M. Kawn La was involved in revising the 2015 CoC. He told NMG that the new version has seven chapters and will be better than the previous one for dealing with fake news incidents. New guidelines on media misuse were added. In addition, a monitoring committee will play a stronger role in the 2020 general election to ensure the 2020 CoC is followed.

Kawn La says the special committee will observe how political parties and electoral candidates interact with each other in the media and on social media during the campaign period to safeguard against defamation and slander.

Kawn La says the wording was changed in the latest rendition to make it more precise.

Myo Kyaw says he welcomes the changes. He says “it’s not allowed to use religion during an election campaign or attack other opposition parties.” Furthermore, electoral candidates must not disclose incorrect information.

Unless they break existing laws, Myo Kyaw explained that parties or candidates won’t face criminal charges if they violate it. CoC, he says, is a set of principles for political parties and electoral candidates to follow during the election.

For example, parties must respect freedom of the press, gender equality and the physically and mentally challenged. Furthermore, incumbent political parties are not allowed to use public resources, including properties and vehicles, or the country’s armed forces for election campaigning. For parties contesting the election, they cannot carry arms or use armed groups during campaigning.