The ceremony in Yangon was attended by the majority of the parties, the chairperson of the Union Election Commission, Switzerland as facilitator, and representatives of the international community. By signing the code of conduct the political parties reaffirm their commitment to hold free and peaceful elections.
Over the last six months Switzerland has facilitated the negotiations on a code of conduct at the request of the parties and the Union Election Commission. Such codes of conduct contain rules to ensure peaceful elections, to which the parties and candidates voluntarily commit themselves. The code also contains principles to ensure protection against attacks and reputational harm, threats to the private life of candidates, and against hate speech. Other provisions cover rules against the abuse of state resources and a renunciation of the use of religion for electoral purposes. The initiative is intended to prevent violent conflict during the preparations for the election and to build trust among the parties. Switzerland will continue its support for the code's implementation.
Switzerland has been supporting the peace negotiations between the various ethnic groups and the government and promoted the state's efforts to introduce democracy in the country since the end of military rule in 2011. This year's elections constitute a crucial step in the transition to democracy. With an electorate of some 30 million voters and with 73 political parties the elections are a major political and logistical challenge for the country.
Switzerland, together with other countries, is providing technical support to the Union Election Commission. It is also supporting local and international election monitoring and the efforts of the media to report on the election process.
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