The by-election in Myanmar on 1 April is yet another important step forward in the country’s political reform process.
The election is only for a small number of parliamentary seats, and will not therefore alter the balance of power in the country. Nevertheless, this is an important election, although the final result is not yet clear. Champion of democracy Aung San Suu Kyi and her party the NLD are expected to be elected to the national assembly after more than 20 years of exclusion from political life.
Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre commented, “It is good to see that Aung San Suu Kyi will finally be able to take her rightful place in Myanmar’s political institutions. In this respect, the election is a milestone.”
The election and the election campaign seem to have proceeded smoothly, although irregularities have been reported. However, the election procedure was better than it was in connection with the parliamentary election in 2010. For example, observers from the ASEAN countries were invited this time, as well as several hundred international journalists.
“The reports of irregularities must be taken seriously. However, we must also acknowledge the reforms that have been implemented. Norway expects the reforms to continue, and that the parliamentary election in 2015 will be a turning point in the country’s modern history,” said Mr Støre.