Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won 77% of seats in Myanmar’s landmark polls this month, according to final results released by the election commission. Myanmar voted on November 8 but results took days to arrive in the capital from remote corners of the country, wending their way from villages in dense jungle and townships in several regions beset by active conflict. Election workers carried ballots by foot from some mountainous areas and then loaded them into helicopters that were used to transport the sealed boxes to the capital Naypyitaw where the official Union Election Commission would count them. So cut-off are some villages in northern Myanmar that their inhabitants have more contact with their Chinese neighbours than with the central government.
The party of democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi has won a majority in Myanmar’s parliament, the election commission said on Friday, giving it enough seats to elect its chosen candidate to the presidency when the new legislature convenes next year. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) had been expected take control of parliament since Sunday’s nationwide vote, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. President Barack Obama had already congratulated her on a landmark victory in the country’s first free election in 25 years. Obama and Ban also praised Myanmar President Thein Sein for successfully staging the historic poll, with the UN chief acknowledging his “courage and vision” to organise an election in which the ruling camp was trounced. Results have been trickling in since the weekend, and on Friday the election commission announced the latest batch of seats that pushed the NLD over the threshold to secure an absolute majority in parliament.
Myanmar President Thein Sein has congratulated opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy Party (NLD) for their apparent landslide victory in this week’s parliamentary elections over the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). An NLD spokesman says the message the party received Wednesday from Information Minister Ye Htut on behalf of Thein Sein included a promise that “the government will pursue a peaceful transfer” of power once the Union Election Commission has confirmed the NLD victory. The latest results from the country’s Union Election Commission show the NLD has claimed 273 seats in the lower house of parliament. The NLD is also far ahead in the upper chamber of parliament, winning 77 of the 83 seats announced so far.
International election observers endorsed Myanmar’s landmark election as credible, but warned that a transition of power would be limited despite what is shaping up to be a historic loss for the military-run government. As of Tuesday evening, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy had secured 107 seats in the 664-seat legislature, according to official results, with only seven for the army-linked incumbent party and a handful for smaller ethnic minority parties. Soe Thane, the economics minister in the cabinet of Myanmar President Thein Sein, also won a seat, though he was running as an independent rather than with his party. A final count isn’t expected for several more days.
Fresh results from Myanmar’s election on Tuesday showed the opposition taking control of most regional assemblies as well as forming the next government, handing democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi sweeping powers and reshaping the political landscape. The ruling party, which was created by the country’s former junta and is led by retired military officers, on Monday conceded defeat in an election that was a major milestone on Myanmar’s rocky path from dictatorship to democracy. But results dribbled out by the election commission have shown that their Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) was not just beaten in the polls, it was trounced. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) said its own tally of results posted at polling stations around the country showed it was on track to take more than two-thirds of seats that were contested in parliament, enough to form Myanmar’s first democratically elected government since the early 1960s.
Myanmar’s ruling party conceded defeat in the country’s general election on Monday, as the opposition led by democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi appeared on course for a landslide victory that would ensure it can form the next government. “We lost,” Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) acting chairman Htay Oo told Reuters in an interview a day after the Southeast Asian country’s first free nationwide election in a quarter of a century. The election commission later began announcing constituency-by-constituency results from Sunday’s poll. All of the first 12 announced were won by Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy (NLD).
Myanmar’s opposition NLD party, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, says it is on track to win more than 70% of seats in the country’s historic election – a tally that could sweep it to power and end decades of military dominance. The National League for Democracy’s hopes of a decisive victory increased as Myanmar’s election commission began to release results from across the country. The NLD won all 32 out of the first 32 seats announced for Myanmar lower house, plus three out of four seats for the regional assemblies, prompting celebratory scenes among supporters outside party headquarters in Yangon. A total of 498 seats are being contested in the upper and lower houses of Myanmar’s parliament. More results are expected to be announced throughout Monday. “We will win a landslide,” Nyan Win, a party spokesman, told the Associated Press. Aung San Suu Kyi earlier hinted at victory in Myanmar’s first free elections for decades, despite an unexpected delay in the release of the results.
On Sunday, more than 30 million voters across Myanmar can cast their ballots in the country’s first relatively free elections in 25 years. The nationwide vote is a milestone in the Southeast Asian nation’s transformation from isolated military dictatorship to a more open society, seeking to attract foreign investment and tourists. Moreover, it will be a crucial test of the popularity of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate and democracy icon who is believed to be the country’s most popular politician. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who was held under house arrest for 15 years during military rule, hopes a strong victory at the polls could finally give her party political power even though she is barred from becoming president. Here is a brief guide to some of the ins and outs of the election.
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi joined more than 30 million Myanmar citizens voting Sunday in the nation’s most important election in 25 years. What comes next may test the military’s willingness to share power with the democracy campaigner who missed the past two national polls because she was under house arrest. Suu Kyi, who is barred by the constitution from becoming president, was greeted by hundreds of cheering supporters when she arrived to vote before 9 a.m. at a school in Yangon, the country’s biggest city. Dressed in red, the color of her National League for Democracy party, she emerged minutes later with a finger dyed by purple ink, before being ushered through a crush of reporters without making any comments.
Ballot problems and delays with advance voting for Myanmar overseas voters have raised concerns among citizens over the motives of authorities in charge of managing the polling process in the run-up to the nationwide elections early next month. Advance voting, which began last week, has been marred in one case by ballots being sent to the wrong embassy, by errors and omissions on the ballots themselves, and by incomplete voter lists and long waits to cast votes. About 35,000 Myanmar citizens are eligible for advance voting in 37 countries. Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC), which is responsible for managing the voting, has acknowledged the problems with voter lists and ballots at home and abroad and has vowed to ensure successful nationwide elections on Nov. 8. Although the UEC has rescheduled advance voting past the Friday cutoff in foreign countries where problems have occurred, it has yet to rectify the situation at home.
When Myanmar votes next month in what has been billed as its first free and fair election in 25 years, Tun Lin, and around 4 million of his fellow citizens, won’t be taking part. Most, like the 33-year-old fisherman, are working overseas and have been unable to register, but voter lists riddled with errors and the cancellation of polling in areas affected by ethnic violence could also dent the credibility of the election. “I think that the government is not doing what it needs to do to make sure that all Burmese citizens are able to vote everywhere they are,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division. “These people are largely going to be disenfranchised because the system doesn’t encourage their participation.”
Citizens are clearly anxious to have a say in their country’s future, yet the legitimacy of the historic election on November 8 is already under threat. It’s clear that Myanmar authorities need to make quick and crucial adjustments to electoral procedures in the wake of problems that marred advance polls held last weekend outside the country. Many of its citizens were turned away as “unqualified” to cast ballots, a worrying situation with the general election coming up on November 8. This is an election that is widely expected to alter Myanmar’s political landscape significantly. Questions of polling legitimacy are to be avoided at all costs.
Are Myanmar’s highly anticipated general elections, widely touted as “historic” by diplomats, pundits and media, doomed to fail just like previous polls? A surprise proposal floated this week by the military-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC) to postpone the November 8 polls has raised troubling questions about the military-backed quasi-civilian government’s commitment to the electoral process and rang alarm bells in Western capitals invested in a successful democratic transition through the ballot box. On October 13, UEC chairman and 45-year military veteran Tin Aye suggested in a meeting with political parties that the polls be delayed, either nationwide or in select constituencies, due to monsoon rain-induced flooding and landslides. The UEC then backed away from the proposal amid strong resistance from the Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition, the main challenger to the ruling military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). The USDP’s position on the proposal to delay the vote was not immediately clear.
Election fever is palpable on the crumbling streets of Rangoon, Burma’s biggest city and colonial-era capital. Caravans of National League for Democracy (NLD) supporters tour the streets daily on rickshaws and converted pickup trucks, festooned with the party’s iconic red bunting and fighting peacock motif. Posters are flourished of the NLD’s talismanic leader, and Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi. Yet a deep anxiety undercuts the electoral exuberance in this impoverished Southeast Asian nation, which is officially now known as Myanmar. It is poised to escape a half-century of military dictatorship, but many fear the rug will be pulled from under at any moment — illustrated by the fatalistic reaction to Tuesday’s announcement by the Union Election Commission (UEC) that the long-awaited polls may be postponed because of widespread flooding and landslides.
Myanmar’s election commission held a meeting on Tuesday with major political parties to discuss the postponement of a historic election set for Nov 8 due to flooding, a government official and a politician present at the meeting told Reuters. Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy is expected to win the poll, which marks a major shift in Myanmar’s political landscape, giving the platform to democracy activists shut out of public life during nearly half a century of strict military rule that ended in 2011. The election commission invited 10 parties to the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, on Tuesday morning and asked them whether they wanted to postpone the election due to the worst floods to hit the country in decades.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s opposition leader, has said she plans to lead the country if her party triumphs in forthcoming parliamentary elections despite a ban on her serving as president, indicating there will be a fierce post-poll battle with the country’s entrenched military rulers. Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), is expected to win the polls, but Aung San Suu Kyi, who received the Nobel peace prize in 1991, is barred from the presidency due to a constitutional provision that excludes those with foreign children from the office. Her late husband was British and she has two British sons and the clause was specifically aimed at denying her the post. “If the NLD wins the elections and we form a government, I am going to be the leader of that government whether or not I am the president. Why not?” she said in an interview with prominent Indian journalist Karan Thapar to be broadcast by the India Today TV network on wednesday. “Do you have to be president in order to lead a country?”
Shortly after the two-month campaign season leading up to Myanmar’s much-awaited national elections started, the Union Election Commission (UEC) announced on September 11 that 124 candidates did not pass scrutiny and would be barred from running for office. Many were opposition and minority members and an estimated one-third were Muslim candidates, raising serious questions over bias in the review process and the exclusion of Muslims from the political process. Though 11 candidates were eventually allowed to rejoin the race after appealing, the current legal framework and a lack of transparency about the decision-making and appeal process could negatively impact the UEC’s credibility as an impartial arbiter in the election process. The November 8 elections will set the tone for Myanmar’s continued democratic development in the near-term and are widely expected to be competitive, with more than 90 political parties and more than 6,100 candidates competing for office in 1,171 constituencies. Fifty-nine of these political parties are linked to minority ethnic groups and religious groups, and one—the Women’s Party (Mon)—consists entirely of women. Though the plethora of political parties ought to be fairly representative of Myanmar’s population, it is notable that Muslims—who make up at least 4 percent of Myanmar’s total population—were under-represented. Growing intolerance and accusation from extremist Buddhists that the major opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) is anti-Buddhist kept the NLD from nominating even one Muslim candidate, while the USDP dropped some of its more outspoken Muslim candidates.
The EU said Tuesday it will for the first time deploy observers in Myanmar’s upcoming elections when the opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to make significant gains against the military-dominated government. National League for Democracy chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech during a voter education campaign in Shan State on Sept 5, 2015. “The mission confirms the European Union’s continued commitment to the democratic transition of Myanmar,” EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said in a statement. “Elections held in a peaceful and inclusive environment will help to consolidate irreversible reforms in the country,” Mogherini said.
Myanmar authorities will appoint 40,000 ordinary citizens as “special election police” ahead of November’s polls to boost security at polling stations, an official said Friday, amid concerns over the exact role they will play. The move comes as countries including the United States and Japan have expressed alarm that rising religious tensions could spark conflict in the former junta-ruled nation as election campaigning enters full swing. “We will appoint more than 40,000 people as special election police for one month starting from mid-October’,” a senior Naypyidaw-based police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP. They will be unarmed and wield fewer powers than official police, he added, without elaborating on the extent of their remit other than “reinforcing” security and providing “early warnings” of any troubles brewing during the November 8 polls.
Every Tuesday, the moss-covered redbrick courthouse in Tharrawaddy erupts into activity for a weekly ritual: the mass trial of student protesters. Under heavy guard at a session in late August, 81 students faced charges related to protests that were crushed by baton-wielding police in March. They are among a growing number of people caught in a crackdown on dissent as Myanmar heads towards a historic election in November, when the military-backed ruling party will compete with the ascendant National League for Democracy (NLD) party of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in the first free national vote in 25 years.
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will take her election battle straight to one of the president’s closest allies when campaigning gets under way this week for the first free general election since the end of military rule. Nobel laureate Suu Kyi will meet her supporters on Thursday in the region where powerful Minister of the President’s Office Soe Thein, the architect of President Thein Sein’s economic reforms, is running for a seat in the Nov. 8 election. Her appearance is a gesture of confidence that her National League for Democracy (NLD) can defeat the president’s closest supporters and their ruling, army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). The campaign officially begins on Tuesday.
Myanmar’s powerful commander-in-chief has reiterated that the military will respect the outcome of the country’s Nov 8 election, seen as a crucial test of Myanmar’s reform process. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said that the main concern of the armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, is that the vote is carried out fairly and that the result is respected by everyone – even if Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) wins a majority. “We wouldn’t mind even if the NLD won in the next general election, as long as it is free and fair,” he told members of the Myanmar’s Interim Press Council, a media support group, during a meeting on Monday.
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi expressed concern Thursday that massive flooding in much of the country might be used as a pretext to undermine November’s general election. In a video appealing to the international community to help flood victims, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate drew a parallel with a referendum, carried out under military rule in 2008, that brought in the current much-maligned constitution. The voting took place during widespread chaos following Cyclone Nargis, which killed an estimated 140,000 people. According to the official results, the charter was overwhelmingly confirmed, but many reports cast doubt on the fairness of the vote and the results. The constitution was drafted under military supervision and enshrines its dominance in government, making substantial democratic reforms difficult to achieve.
The party of Aung San Suu Kyi has rejected bids by 17 members of Myanmar’s respected “88 generation” to join its ranks and contest November’s election, a controversial omission of a group that was expected to galvanise its bid to dominate the ballot. The National League for Democracy (NLD) party selected only one member of the popular crop of activists, who suffered years of persecution after leading nationwide student protests in 1988 that were brutally crushed by the ruling military. Their rebellion mushroomed into a pro-democracy uprising that thrust Suu Kyi, the daughter of late independence hero Aung San, into Myanmar’s political spotlight.
Myanmar’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi Wednesday registered for November elections to keep her seat in parliament and challenge the ruling military-backed party. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy will contest almost all the 498 parliamentary seats in the Nov. 8 polls, and expects heavy gains, according to party spokesman Nyan Win. He said the party will announce the first batch of candidates Wednesday.
The main opposition National League for Democracy in Myanmar, also known as Burma, is reaching out to other activists to bolster its position ahead of elections later this year. In Myanmar, also known as Burma, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, right, receives flowers from supporters of her National League for Democracy Party, Yangon International Airport, June 10, 2015.In Myanmar, also known as Burma, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, right, receives flowers from supporters of her National League for Democracy Party, Yangon International Airport, June 10, 2015. The party, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has invited former student leaders and veteran politicians to join the NLD as candidates in November.
With Myanmar poised to hold its fairest general election in decades, the country remains in the dark over whom and what it will be voting for on Nov. 8. While Aung San Suu Kyi said her party will participate in the election, the Nobel Peace Prize winner is constitutionally barred from becoming president, leaving a blurred picture of what a vote for her would mean. And now the ruling party faces a potential leadership tussle between President Thein Sein and House Speaker Shwe Mann. Mr. Thein Sein, in power since the former military regime ceded control in 2011, has repeatedly hinted that he would seek a second term. On Tuesday, Zaw Htay, director of the president’s office, said Mr. Thein Sein’s “desires had not changed.” He said the president would seek a second term “if it is what the people wish.”
Myanmar has set November 8 as the date for a landmark general election, the country’s election commission said. The vote will be the first to be held under the country’s military-backed, quasi-civilian government, which has been pushing through expansive political and economic reforms since 2011, bringing the country out of decades of authoritarian rule and international isolation. It is expected to be the freest, fairest vote seen in the country, also known as Burma, since 1990, when the first multi-party election in decades was held. That election was won convincingly by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), but the country’s ruling military junta refused to recognize the results.
Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Saturday that her National League for Democracy party will participate in the country’s general elections in November. The opposition party’s participation reaffirms that the vote, scheduled to take place Nov. 8, would be the most inclusive in decades, and legitimizes the Myanmar government’s effort to ensure a free and fair election. Speaking to reporters at a news conference in Myanmar’s capital of Naypyitaw, Ms. Suu Kyi said her party would run candidates for seats in most of the available constituencies. The NLD, a party that rose to prominence in pro-democracy uprisings against the former military junta, won by a landslide in elections in 1990, but was forbidden from forming a government. Party members were thrown into prison, and Ms. Suu Kyi was put under house arrest.
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.