Burma's Parliamentary Election

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
November 8, 2015

The United States congratulates the people of Burma on the November 8 election and commends all of the people and institutions in the country who worked together to hold a peaceful and historic poll. Millions of people from around the country, many of whom were voting for the first time, seized this opportunity to move one step closer to a democracy that respects the rights of all--a testament to the courage and sacrifice shown by the people of Burma over many decades.

While these elections were an important step forward, we recognize that they were far from perfect. There remain important structural and systemic impediments to the realization of full democratic and civilian government, including the reservation of a large number of unelected seats for the military; the disfranchisement of groups of people who voted in previous elections, including the Rohingya; and the disqualification of candidates based on arbitrary application of citizenship and residency requirements.

The United States, along with the domestic and international observers, has closely monitored the electoral process. We will continue to watch the vote counting process, and encourage all parties to help ensure the tabulation is transparent and credible and any complaints are addressed promptly, transparently, and appropriately.

Today’s election has the potential to be an important step towards greater peace, prosperity, and democracy for the people of Burma. We encourage the political leaders in the country to work together in the spirit of national unity and democratic reform to seek what is best for the country. A peaceful post-election period is crucial for stability and maintaining the confidence of the people in the credibility of the electoral process and the overall political transition. The United States remains committed to supporting the people of Burma in their pursuit of democracy, development, and national reconciliation going forward.