Director-General U Zaw Htay of Ministry of Office of State Counsellor meets media-persons at the Press Briefing

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Director-General U Zaw Htay speaks during the press briefing at the President House in Nay Pyi Taw on 23 October 2020. Photo: ko htein

Director-General U Zaw Htay of the Ministry of Office of State Counsellor met media-persons at the Press Briefing Room of the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw at 2 pm on 23 October in accord with the social distancing arrangement, and explained the election and the peace process.
At the press meet, Director-General U Zaw Htay said public opinion on the degree of the possibility of election-related violence collected between July and September was eight per cent in Chin State, 14 per cent in Kachin State, eight per cent in Kayah State, 14 per cent in Kayin State, zero per cent in Mon State, 13 per cent in Rakhine State, 20 per cent in Shan State (North), 24 per cent in Shan State (East), 26 per cent in Shan State (South), 13 per cent in Bago Region (Eastern Sector), and zero per cent in Taninthayi Region. It is a public opinion on the degree of election-related violence in connection with the armed organizations. As it is now in the pre-election period, there are problems of the destruction of party signboards and disputes and other problematic activities, and the number of such incidents is increasing as the election is drawing nearer.
Another is the public opinion on the possible causes of disturbances or hardships at the election. According to the public opinion collected till September this year, Covid-19 has the 46 per cent probability of harming the public suffrage in the entire country; canvassing campaigns of the parties, 13 per cent; regional instability, 13 per cent; distrust in the Government and the Union Election Commission, seven per cent; advanced voting process, six per cent; weakness in election monitoring, four per cent; false information, rumours and the spread of misinformation, three per cent; lack of voter knowledge of the election, three per cent; race- or religion-related disturbance, three per cent; errors in the voting list, two per cent. Some minor issues are rising as the election is drawing nearer. Although the record shows the possibility of false information and rumours and that of race and religion at three per cent each, there is now an increase in their numbers now, he said.
The President’s Office has issued an order in response to the situation. Here, I would point out the article 3. The relevant organizations, administrative bodies and region and state governments have been ordered to take effective action against unlawful acts including various forms of violence, intimidation and disturbances against election rights, rallying support or causing disturbances in various forms based on race and religion, and destruction of community peace in accord with the laws in force, the director-general said.
As regards the peace, U Zaw Htay said the part three of the Union Accord was signed on 21 August at the fourth session of the Union Peace Conference: the 21st Century Panglong. The accord has three parts. The part one is the NCA framework agreement. It has 15 agreements. Coordinated points to overcome the hardships in practically realizing the NCA have been achieved through negotiations. State Counsellor and the NRPC chairman have already explained the hardships that were faced in their addresses at the NCA anniversary. There are agreements to overcome those hardships. Points in connection with the agreement on implementation, equipment, and implementation means which were not included in the initial talks on NCA are now included.
The part two of the accord includes the phase-wise implementation table-1 for the period beyond 2020. The main features are the three stages to set up a democratic federal and the three stages to implement the political consent. The second point includes eight topics. The process of federalization, administrative reforms, economy and development, financial powers, land resources, democratization, social harmonization, security reconciliation have been agreed in accord with para 30 of NCA. The third point deals with the work programs that must be implemented phase wise by any government of the country in the post 2020, he said.
The part three of the accord is the basic guiding principles for building a Union based on democracy and federal system. It has five points. The discussions on the constitution of the State will continue. It is the future vision of the country. This part shapes the type of the Union that will be collectively set up by all the nationalities of the Union. The State Counsellor has already stated the part as first action programme of the post-2020 work programme. The second and the third action programmes have already been mentioned. Based on the statements, the method of implementing the three action programmes has been posted on the State Counsellor Page and the NRPC Page, he said.
The phase 1 is concerned with the ceasefire. This step includes making agreements with non-signatories of NCA, strengthening ceasefire with NCA-S-EAOs, all inclusiveness and local development programme.
The phase 2 is related to the state constitutions and two Hluttaws. Discussions were made on whether two Hluttaws or three Hluttaws in the future. Myanmar has three Hluttaws. Pyithu Hluttaw and Amyotha Hluttaw are grouped into Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. Amyotha Hluttaw that represents for ethnic people never secured majority votes in the parliament. Therefore, negotiations will be continued for possible sharing of power and authority to each Hluttaw.
Another topic is the possible restructuring of political frame work. The process includes phase-by-phase implementation in details in the post-2020 and political-social harmony.
The phase 3 is to amend the 2020 State Constitution in line with the commitments from the above two processes. The process will include negotiations in adopting constitutions for the states, reconciliation of political rights and security issue. These steps are included in the seven new work plan for peace-making process beyond 2020.
The Director-General also explained the reform of dialogue structure, discussions on mechanisms and institution in the peacemaking process, collaboration in line with NCA for all inclusiveness, seeking advice from those outside peace process, reviewing the whole process, exchange of views among EAOs, political parties and CSOs to proceed the peace process.
He also talked about the five organizations of ethnic armed groups since 1947 even before the country regained its independence; failure of peace dialogue during the administration of Revolutionary Council in 1962, abandonment of arms during the reign of Burma Socialist Programme Party, ceasefire agreements with 40 EAOs between 1988 and 2000 and bilateral peace agreements from 2011 and 2015.
The NCA was signed by the eight EAOs, followed by adopting political dialogue framework, holding 1st edition of Union Peace Conference and paper reading session, participation of two more EAOs from 2016 to 2020, joint statements with northern armed groups and KNPP, 12 times of amendment on political dialogue framework, seven national-level political dialogues, two CSO forums, four events of 21st Century Panglong with turning out three parts of Union Accord, emergence of future process in the post-2020, informal discussions, negotiations, ongoing dialogues to make negotiations with the remaining groups in addition to the NCA-S-EAOs.
In response to the media questions, U Zaw Htay explained voting of the President and the State Counsellor in Nay Pyi Taw, economic situations before and during COVID-19 outbreak, arrests of NLD Hluttaw candidates and the actions of government, announcement on constituencies with no elections and the view of government on it, discussions on relief funds for displaced persons, updates on investigation into chairman of United Democratic Party, situation of Shwe Kukko project, investigation into findings of bomb in the compound of chairperson of district election commission, the works of COVID-19 Control and Emergency Response Committee, political campaigns of parties amid COVID-19 pandemic, spread of false news based on racial and religious issue, arm procurement of Tatmadaw, cash relief programme for all the townships under the stay at home order, possibility of school reopening, voting of people in the areas under the stay at home order and the fourth cash assistance to the grass root people with no regular income.—Myo Thwin Kyaw (Translated by TMT, Aung Khin)

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