YANGON (AFP) – Landmark elections in Myanmar that could propel opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party into office have been provisionally scheduled for late next year, electoral officials said Tuesday.
The 2015 general election, seen as a key test of Myanmar’s democratic reforms, is due to be held in the final week of October or the first week of November, Union Election Commission chairman Tin Aye said at a meeting with political parties in Yangon.
He said the election “needs to be free and fair” so that “smart and good people” would be installed in parliament, adding that the exact date would be confirmed next August.
Myanmar authorities have promised the vote will be the freest in the country’s modern history after the military ceded direct power to a quasi-civilian government three years ago.
President Thein Sein’s government has been lauded by the international community for a range of dramatic reforms that have seen most Western sanctions lifted.
But rights groups have raised concerns that a number of prosecutions of journalists and activists this year are a sign that the country could be backsliding.