Indonesia can provide a useful model for nascent democracies in the region.
Since its first democratic elections in 1999, systematic and professional electoral observation by Indonesia’s civil society organizations has played a vital role in improving the overall quality of elections and building confidence by ensuring election results are accepted by candidates and parties.
International IDEA organized a study mission in July 2014 for the Union Election Commission (UEC) of Myanmar during Indonesia’s 2014 Presidential election. The aim was to help the UEC improve the operations of and legal framework for election observation in Myanmar. The visit emphasized the importance of electoral observation and regulations surrounding it, as well as the important relationships between Indonesia’s unique Election Management Bodies (EMB) and key electoral stakeholders.
UEC Commissioners H.E U Win Ko and H.E U Nyunt Tin took part in the mission, where they met with their counterparts in Indonesia’s three different Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs):
- KPU (Indonesia Central Election Commission)
- Bawaslu (Election Supervisory Body)
- DKPP (Honorary Council)
The commissioners also met with key stakeholders from a variety of election observation organizations:
- Research institutes
- Political party and presidential campaign representatives
- Civil society organizations
On the day of elections, the Commissioners visited numerous polling stations throughout Jakarta to observe the interaction of party agents, election observers, civil society organisations (CSOs), parties and candidates.
‘I believe we can achieve credible elections in Myanmar through greater transparency and more participation’ - Commissioner U Nyunt Tin.
‘Credibility and transparency can be enhanced by the presence of active CSOs and state institutions’. - Commissioner U Win Ko.
International IDEA believes that the real value of a study mission is working with partners after the mission has come to a close. The next step will be to support dialogue between the UEC and representatives of Myanmar CSOs interested in observing elections. International IDEA will support Myanmar stakeholders by providing international comparative experience to the UEC, as it seeks to strengthen the regulatory framework for electoral observation in Myanmar.