The Union Election Commission (UEC) has rejected a request from the National League for Democracy (NLD) and ethnic parties to double the length of time parties will have to campaign for Burma’s crucial 2015 elections. The official election regulations will continue to restrict campaigning to 30 days before the polls, according to an election official, although exceptions may be made in remote states where the logistics of campaigning are expected to be difficult. The UEC met on Wednesday with representatives of the NLD—Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party—and five ethnic parties, which proposed amendments to the election rules laid out by the commission last month. Thaung Hlaing, a director at the UEC, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that the parties’ proposal to allow 60 days of campaigning before voting day would not be adopted.
“Our chairman has discussed it,” said Thaung Hlaing, referring to the UEC’s chair, Tin Aye, a former military official who was elected as a lawmaker for the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) before stepping down to head the supposedly impartial commission.
“The NLD and the ethnic parties asked to extend the date to 60 days but we have set it out to international standards.”
Thaung Hlaing added that candidates in states like Chin or Arakan, where travel is difficult, can ask for more time to campaign.
“We don’t want the political parties to have to spend more [money] due to a long campaign period. It will also prevent any unnecessary problems which might occur amongst rival parties,” he said in explanation of the decision.