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The ASEAN Secretariat is encouraged by the orderly, fair, transparent and peaceful manner which Myanmar has conducted its by-elections on 1 April.

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The ASEAN Secretariat responded to Myanmar’s invitation to send a five-member observer team, which spent five days in the country talking to voters, government and party officials from the ruling, opposition, and independent camps.  The team also consulted with the United Nations and the European Union missions and the media.  In addition, the team consulted with ASEAN Member States that have all responded to Myanmar’s call to observe the election.

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Divided into two, one was deployed in Mandalay and one in the Yangon region. Team leader Dr Mely Anthony, frequently reported findings to ASEAN Secretary-General, Dr Surin Pitsuwan who is supportive to the people of Myanmar and the country’s steps toward reconciliation.

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“We are encouraged by the way the by-elections were conducted. We are cheered that all the major stakeholders had cooperated to ensure the success of this landmark political exercise,” said Dr Surin.

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“This is only the first step of a long journey. We want to see Myanmar succeed in this quest, and the ASEAN family is firmly behind Myanmar, and we are ever ready to share our experiences, and support Myanmar’s rebuilding and reconciliation efforts.”

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Myanmar’s by-elections were also cheered by ASEAN Chair, Cambodia. It said the group welcomed the fair and orderly manner which the polls were conducted, and called for the lifting of sanctions against the country.

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“We urge the international community to consider lifting economic sanctions on Myanmar so that the people of Myanmar can enjoy better opportunities in realizing their aspirations for peace, national reconciliation, democracy and national development,” said Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr Hor Namhong. He added that “this election process is a step forward towards democratization, and a positive step.”

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Myanmar held its landmark by-elections on April 1, witnessed by hundreds of international observers as well as reporters from all over the world.

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