Professor Damien Kingsbury leads observers to Myanmar elections

Media release
03 November 2015
Professor Damien Kingsbury, Personal Chair in the School of International and Political Studies at Deakin University, will lead an Australian team of observers to Myanmar’s general elections on 8 November.

Professor Damien Kingsbury, Personal Chair and Professor of International Politics in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Deakin University, will lead an Australian team of observers to Myanmar’s general elections on 8 November. 

Professor Kingsbury, a specialist in Southeast Asian politics, said that 43 observers had been accredited as part of the Australia Myanmar Election Observation Mission (AMEOM).

The observer mission is being run under the auspices of the trade union development organisation Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad (APHEDA).

As with previous election observation missions coordinated by Professor Kingsbury, all observers are attending on a voluntary basis.

Professor Kingsbury said the observers would be located throughout Myanmar, except for those areas where conflict between the Myanmar military and ethnic insurgents was continuing.

“These elections will determine whether Myanmar can continue on its recent path of reform towards a more complete democratization or whether the country will stall or even reverse its reform process,” explained Professor Kingsbury.

“That individuals are prepared to volunteer to be observers in these elections shows how importantly they are regarded by outsiders, as well as within Myanmar.”

Myanmar was previously known as Burma. Its last general elections, in 1990, had its results dismissed by the ruling military junta.

The last elections which determined a government in Myanmar were in 1960. The elected government was overthrown in a military coup two years later and Myanmar has been under complete or quasi-military rule since that time.

Professor Kingsbury has led observers to East Timor’s ballot for independence in 1999 and to its general elections in 2007 and 2012. He was also an election observer to Indonesia’s presidential elections in 1999 and 2004.

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