Ban praises Myanmar for peaceful conduct of by-elections on Sunday

For many women in Myanmar, selling vegetables in the open market is one of the few sources of cash income. Photo: IRIN/Jason Gutierrez

2 April 2012 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today congratulated the people and Government of Myanmar for the “peaceful and largely orderly” manner in which by-elections were held on Sunday.

“Candidates from various political parties, including the National League for Democracy, participated freely in the elections, a development that the Secretary-General believes is another significant step towards a better future for Myanmar,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement. “He acknowledges, in particular, the courage and vision of President Thein Sein, which has made such progress possible.”

Myanmar citizens headed to the polls yesterday to vote for representatives of 48 parliamentary seats. A United Nations team had been on the ground since last week, and witnessed the voting in a number of constituencies.

According to the statement, despite some complaints of irregularities during the voting, key stakeholders in Myanmar, including political parties, stressed to the visiting UN team their strong belief that the by-elections were a boost for the ongoing reforms in the country.

On Friday, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, had stressed that elections should be free, fair, inclusive and transparent, so as not to undermine the recent wave of reforms and the public’s confidence in the country’s democratic transition process.

Mr. Ban also took note of the “constructive efforts and positive statements by the Government and other key stakeholders, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, in the lead-up to and following the by-election,” his spokesperson said, noting that he is encouraged by the initial reaction of the international community.

“The Secretary-General urges the Government and all political forces to cooperate and build on the important achievement of the by-election and to consolidate the country’s democratic gains,” the Secretary-General’s spokesperson added. “He also calls on all of Myanmar’s stakeholders to redouble their efforts toward genuine national reconciliation and long-term and durable peace.”


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