Burma’s Union Election Commission (UEC) last week announced that new campaign guidelines have been drafted.
The UEC is scheduled to meet with party leaders next week to discuss the draft, which has already received criticism from several political figures.
In the past few months the commission has signalled plans to curb campaign periods, restrict campaigning to a candidate’s constituency, and limit representative campaigning.
Khin Maung Swe, chairman of the National Democratic Force, said that the draft manual severely “restricts our manoeuvrability with election campaigning,” by requiring party representatives to register with the District Election Commission before campaigning on behalf of a candidate.
The guidelines require parties to give prior notice to authorities about campaign details, such as location, route, time and full event schedule, conditions that Khin Maung Swe said are reminiscent of military rule.
“There are too many restrictions,” he concluded.
The new guidelines also cut the election campaign period down to one month before the vote.
The UEC is chaired by Tin Aye, a retired lieutenant-general in the Burmese military and former leader for the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party.
Burma’s 2010 elections are almost universally dismissed as flawed and invalid. Tin Aye notably criticised the last round of by-elections, held in 2012, for being too free, claiming that they resembled the demonstrations of the 1988 uprising and gave unfair advantage to opposition candidates.