News Article

Democracy Day celebrations in Yangon


The video of the panel discussion focusing on citizens’ involvement in the upcoming elections, peace and democracy and long-term reform is now available online.

The discussion was part of International IDEA’s celebrations of International Democracy Day in Yangon Myanmar and brought together over 150 guests including the seven person strong panel moderated by Thin Lei Win, Chief Correspondent at Myanmar-Now.

The panelists were U Tin Maung Oo (USDP); Daw Ma Thida Sanchaung (writer), U Min Khin (NLD), Dr Nyo Nyo Thin (Yangon Hluttaw MP), U Harn Yawnghwe (EBO), Daw Pansy Tun Thein (Local Resource Centre) and U Sai Ye Kyaw Swar Myint (People’s Alliance for Credible Elections).

Speaking on the importance of inclusiveness in the shaping of democracy Tin Maung Oo stressed the importance of inclusivity in the promotion of peace in Myanmar, Harn Yawnghwe added on this topic that political dialogue should take place not only among national leaders, but at every layer of society. U Min Khin (NLD) spoke about his feeling that people in Myanmar do not have a sense of democracy yet or a sense of a just society. His opinion was echoed in part by Dr Nyo Nyo Thin (MP) who expressed her happiness at participating in the commemorations but reminded guests of the continued struggles of political prisoners who are held in custody due to their beliefs.

“I never thought that we would have democracy in Myanmar while I’m still alive,” Daw Pansy Tun Thein (LRC) said during the panel. While Sai Ye Kyaw Swar Myint cautioned that the power of the military should decrease in favor of power to parties and civil society.

These sentiments were carried through the dialogue and but the panel also expressed hope for a continued democratic trajectory in Myanmar that would include rule of law and economic reforms, strengthening the power of the Assembly of the Union (the Hluttaw) including the removal of military presence in the assembly; the continuation of the peace process through political dialogues at the local level and a hope that democracy does continue to flourish rather than return to the old regime.

International IDEA joined efforts with seven other organizations to prepare the occasion, as part of STEP Democracy, a three-year project supported by the European Union.

International Democracy Day is commemorated on 15 September.

~ Sophia Fernandes, Programme Officer – Research & Reporting, IDEA Myanmar

About the Author

FORMER Programme Officer
Sophia Fernandes

Fernandes implemented the European Union-funded STEP Democracy electoral assistance package in Myanmar while with International IDEA. She oversaw reporting, monitoring & evaluation, coordination and joint representation of all eight partners involved in the project (four international and four national). She also managed International IDEA Myanmar’s research programme, including producing and reviewing content on electoral and legal reform issues, parliamentary assistance and constitution-building.