Voting for the First Time
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Hello, my name is Chaw Mueral Kyaw. I work for CDA as Office Manager in Myanmar since July 2015. Earlier, I worked with the International Management Group which was funded by the EU for the peace and MDG projects. It is my great pleasure to be a member of CDA. As a Myanmar citizen, I really appreciate CDA works for our country.
Today, November 8th 2015, is my very first time, excited moment of my life – which will be remarkable in all of our lives. Today is our country’s second election! Yes, second time on the democracy path. It is my first time because I couldn’t participate in that process in the last 5 years as I was away from my home country and we didn’t much care for it. But now, today, I am very much excited and am proud that I am going to be a real citizen soon and I believe myself that my one valuable vote can be counted in the changes of our country.
As per my knowledge, voting is an important activity for citizens in any democracy. The purpose of an election is to translate the freely expressed political will of the people into a workable representative institution/a government. When we talk about access to elections we must remember to include citizens with diverse cultural backgrounds, technology experiences, literacy and language proficiency, and abilities.
Voting has not always been as easy as it is today. It is interesting to examine how far our country, Myanmar, has progressed in its process of allowing different types of people to be able to vote.
Today, the day which will change our country will be the greatest day for all Myanmar citizens. It is very different compared to the 2010 election. Since before the election day, we were all very busy finding our names in our related registration ward, and getting the “voter identification paper” (a small piece of paper with our information and the polling station number where we will vote.) Some people didn’t get this paper due to their quarter/ township arrangement and some papers had fake names/ addresses. Sometimes, the paper described a fake identity which was not even a real person. Our people have one aim for our country, that we want our country to be changed in every sector. There are a lot of parties that are competing on this election day to become a member of the House of Nationalities (Amyotha Hluttaw), the House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw), and a township representative of state/division parliament. I believe that they are all good in their own ways but as a citizen, I must choose the right candidate for our country to make the right decisions.
So on Election Day, there were three closed boxes named “House of Nationalities (Amyotha Hluttaw),” “House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw),” and “township representative of state/division parliament.” Every voter presented their national ID and the voter identification paper, then got papers from the relevant authorities and started to vote in private rooms/desks. It was a very excited moment for me, yes of course, for our citizens, not only because of the voting but also because of taking extra care for the voting stamps to be in the right place. Otherwise, they will be rejected. I am very happy that I did vote and that my voice is a small part of the whole.
I can say cheerfully that everyone came out from the polling station and their faces seemed like they already knew the winner. Their fingers were all marked with the electoral ink as proof of voting.
In conclusion, I pray and hope that our country will become peaceful and a developed country among the countries of the world by having true justice and equal chance of human rights.
With a peaceful desire for our country!
About the author(s)
Chaw Mueral Kyaw is the Office Manager at CDA’s Myanmar office. Chaw joined CDA’s Myanmar office as Office Manager in July, 2015. She provides administrative support to CDA, International Alert and Saferworld in the office they share in Yangon, and helps manage office logistics and finances. Contact Kiely Barnard-Webster ([email protected]) to discuss our work in Myanmar.
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