His Excellency Chairman U Hla Thein and Yves Leterme at the Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony
Photo: Tomas Spragg Nilsson | International IDEA
On September 30, an extension of the Memorandum of Understanding between International IDEA and the Myanmar Union Election Commission (UEC) was signed by His Excellency UEC Chairman U Hla Thein and Yves Leterme, Secretary-General of International IDEA, at International IDEA’s Headquarters in Strömsborg, Stockholm. The agreement extends the collaborative partnership between International IDEA and the UEC until 2021.
The UEC and International IDEA have been strategic partners since 2014 under the flagship program Support to Electoral Processes and Democracy in Myanmar (STEP) financed by the European Union. The STEP project supports inclusive, peaceful and credible electoral processes by developing capacities of all electoral stakeholders in Myanmar (the election commission, civil society organizations, political parties and the media). For the implementation of STEP, International IDEA leads a consortium including three other international organizations - the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy (DIPD), Democracy Reporting International (DRI), the Friedrich Neumann Foundation (FNF) - and four national civil society actors (Scholar Institute, Myanmar Egress, Naushawng Education Network and Hornbill).
The extension of the Memorandum of Understanding between International IDEA and the Myanmar UEC constituted a culminating point in a one-week study and networking tour organized by International IDEA for the UEC in Belgium, The Netherlands and Sweden. During the tour, the UEC Chairman and Director General met with various European electoral management bodies, diplomatic and development aid agencies, and international development stakeholders.
On the Belgian leg of the tour, His Excellency Chairman U Hla Thein conveyed a powerful message of friendship to European citizens during his address at the celebration of International Day of Democracy, co-organized by the European Parliament and International IDEA on September 28th in Brussels:
“I take the opportunity of my presence today in Europe, at the European Parliament, to thank the European institutions, and through them, the European citizens, for their support to the birth of the Myanmar democratic transition and to the historical elections held 10 months and half ago.”
As the implementing partner of the European Union’s assistance to the UEC, International IDEA takes pride in having contributed to the holding of the first peaceful, transparent and credible elections in Myanmar in over 50 years. As a STEP II program is under development for the period 2017-2021, International IDEA looks forward to continuing its partnership with the European Union to provide support to the Union Election Commission and other Myanmar democracy stakeholders.