Myanmar will hold a general election on Nov. 8, its election commission said on Wednesday, its first nationwide ballot since the end of direct military rule and a vote that could decide the scope of the country’s reforms. The election comes at a critical time for Myanmar, which has undergone major changes since shifting to a quasi-civilian system in 2011 but is now seeing tensions between rival forces vying for power after an unprecedented period of reform. The ballot would determine representatives of the bicameral parliament and regional chambers for five-year terms. The newly formed upper and lower houses would nominate and vote on who would be president later. The Nov. 8 date was confirmed by Nyunt Tin, a director of the Union Election Commission (UEC), when contacted by Reuters.
Myanmar’s last election was held under military rule in 2010 and was widely condemned as rigged to favour the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which includes retired military and remnants of the previous regime.
The November vote is expected to be watched by western obeservers. A minister said in March the European Union and U.S.-based Carter Centre would be invited as monitors.
The 2010 poll was boycotted by the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, whose leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was under house arrest at the time.