Friday, August 18, 2017

"Asian politicians are sore losers": Damaso G. Magbual, ANFREL Head of Mission

The Myanmar Times sat down with Damaso G. Magbual, Head of Mission of ANFREL (Asian Network for Free Elections)

Mr Magbual on the government not letting observers on to military bases for the advanced voting:

“If the votes from military stations are concentrated in a constituency, they can alter the result. But if they are spread, they cannot do much harm. We will need to have a close look at the constituencies where military officers are running for office. Not to say they will do something fishy, but it is best to observe that the rules of the game are followed.”

On the release of the election results:

“The UEC has communicated the results would come within two days. That should be possible. The longer it takes to finalize the results, the more people tend to suspect more possible manipulation.”

On why the polling stations are scheduled to close at four:

“You have to remember the infrastructure. The count should be done when it is still bright. If you delay it when it is dark, it is easier to manipulate the results in darkness. This is one of the secrets of those who cheat. In my country (Philippines) the government has once provoked a power cut so that they could cheat more easily. This decision by the UEC is fully rational."

On the danger of tensions:

"When you announce results in Europe, everybody is happy and shakes hands. Asian politicians are sore losers. They think they lose face when they lose elections, they have diminished dignity. That is the reason why sometimes there is trouble post-election. The mindset of Asian politicians is: “The election is free and fair when I win”. But do I expect tensions? No, I do not. I am always optimistic."