Myanmar has banned political parties from criticising the army or the military-dominated constitution in state media during campaigning for elections seen as a test of the country’s transition from military rule. The parties standing in the November 8 elections will be allowed to broadcast 15-minute speeches on state television and radio, according to a statement by the Union Election Commission, and publish them in state-owned newspapers. But the addresses will be vetted by the commission and the Ministry of Information and could be rejected if officials find that they violate the rules.
Statements “that can split the Tatmadaw or that can disgrace and damage the dignity the Tatmadaw,” are banned, said the commission, using the term for the Myanmar military.
Parties should also not “disrespect” the 2008 constitution, which reserves 25 per cent of parliament and key cabinet posts for the military, giving it an effective veto over politics.
The constitution also bars presidential candidates with a foreign spouse or child, effectively preventing Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president. Suu Kyi’s late husband was British, as are her two sons