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CEPPS in Burma

Since 2012, CEPPS has helped to strengthen and consolidate Burma’s democratic transition by supporting core democratic institutions establish more participatory, transparent, representative and accountable processes.
CEPPS Overarching Goals:

Working alongside members of Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC), political parties, national and subnational parliaments and civil society organizations (CSOs), CEPPS aims to strengthen the credibility, transparency and inclusiveness of the electoral process; promote more competitive and representative political parties; and increase government transparency, accountability and responsiveness to constituents.

CEPPS Approach:

CEPPS uses a collaborative approach to strengthen the integrity, transparency, and inclusiveness of the electoral process.  Rooted in a firm understanding of key aspects of Burma’s electoral processes, including electoral reform, election dispute resolution, as well as polling and counting procedures, this approach builds the UEC’s electoral administration capacity and improves Burma’s legislative and electoral regulatory framework. CEPPS focuses on empowering marginalized populations and first-time voters to improve the effectiveness of civic and voter educational campaigns.

To promote political parties’ peaceful, issue-based, and inclusive participation in Burma’s electoral and democratic processes, CEPPS strengthens the parties’ ability to run issue-based campaigns.  We also work to enhance participation among women and youth in politics throughout the country, build coalitions, and conduct outreach to constituents through training, coordinated public opinion research and grants awarded to partner organizations.

CEPPS strengthens Burma’s national and sub-national parliaments as representative, inclusive, transparent and sustainable democratic institutions by assisting members of parliament (MPs) and committees to perform their legislative and oversight roles effectively.  CEPPS also works with party caucuses to ensure policy priorities align with legislative initiatives and provides support for international and national CSOs to conduct election observation and raise awareness of inclusion in legislative elections.

CEPPS Key Achievements in Burma:

CEPPS strengthens Burma’s legislative and electoral framework:

  • Ahead of the 2020 elections, the UEC has made significant commitments to electoral reforms across several key areas including election dispute resolution, stakeholder engagement, and gender equality and women’s empowerment. These commitments were made through the development and implementation of two strategic plans with CEPPS support, the latest of which was launched in early 2019.
  • Since 2013, CEPPS has led comprehensive training on party development, communications, campaigning and other topics to more than 10,000 party representatives from 88 political parties representing all regions of Burma.
  • This access to advanced training directly enhanced citizens’ peaceful and constructive engagement in electoral and democratic processes and contributed directly to the development of new political parties during Burma’s transition.
  • CEPPS has established and expanded the services of a Parliamentary Resource Center (PRC) for the Union Parliament which is a wealth of information, research and analysis for MPs and committees across the political spectrum that has helped strengthen the MPs’ parliamentary capacity.
  • CEPPS worked closely with state and regional-level parliaments to meet the needs of the Burmese people and to create a more transparent political process that engages constituents.  Most notably, CEPPS assisted the Shan State and Mandalay Region Hluttaws to organize their first-ever public hearings that resulted in both parliaments amending their respective Municipal Development Laws, and supported the Shan State Parliament’s first-ever budget hearing that led to the re-allocation of more than $2.8 million in public funds.

CEPPS increases the inclusion of women, youth, people with disabilities, and marginalized groups in Burma’s political process:

  • Throughout Burma, CEPPS recorded increased participation of women in politics through the intensive Leadership Training Schools program, which to date has engaged 589 women from more than 40 political parties to take a more active role in their parties and politics, including increased leadership responsibilities, running for office and conducting constituent outreach.
  • With CEPPS provision of technical support, women MPs established the first ever women’s working group in Burma’s Union Parliament, which is currently in the process of moving forward its debut legislation, the Domestic Workers’ Rights Bill.
  • CEPPS partnered with local CSOs to implement the Your Voice, Your Vote, Your Future youth civic education program and an inclusive civic education program that empowers traditionally marginalized voters, including persons with disabilities, women, ethnic minorities, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community, to participate in electoral and political processes.

Burma’s democratic actors and the public now enjoy access to accurate electoral information and public opinion data:

  • CEPPS supported the development and implementation of the UEC’s voter education strategy, which leverages social media and digital platforms to engage voters and deliver accurate information.  This approach also disseminates materials in several ethnic languages and accessible formats and places a strong emphasis on countering disinformation and hate speech, particularly against women candidates.
  • In 2014, 2017, and 2019, CEPPS conducted three nationally representative public opinion polls on democracy, governance, and the economy that were widely reported in the media and have been used by policymakers, party leaders and civic groups to make more evidence-based policy and political decisions.
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