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Myanmar - Election 2015

In the first free and fair election in 25 years, the army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) lost to Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) in the 2015 election.

Burmese voters headed to the polls on 01 April 2012 for a by-election that saw opposition candidates, including democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, voted into a government they shunned for decades. Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy secured a landslide victory in these elections. The 48 seats contested in the vote would not change the balance of power in parliament. Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD did not take part in the flawed 2010 election as the military government that ruled Burma kept her under house arrest. But her release and the surprising reforms from Burma's military-backed government raised hopes that she can work toward democracy alongside those who for decades suppressed it. Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her National League for Democracy party won parliamentary seats in 2012 by-elections. The country’s main opposition party, the NLD won 43 out of 45 seats.

Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said June 06, 2013 she wanted to become her country's next president, when national elections are planned as part of an ongoing transition from decades of military rule. "I want to run for president, and I am quite frank about it. If I pretended that I did not want to be president, I would not be honest. And I would rather be honest with my people than otherwise. But, the president is not directly elected. For me to be eligible for the post of the presidency, the constitution will have to be amended,'' she said. The constitution also requires the president to have military experience, which the opposition leader lacks.

Myanmar announced 20 October 2014 that it would hold its next parliamentary elections in late October or early November of 2015. Chairman of the Election Commission for the Yangon region, Ko Ko, made the announcement during a meeting with Civil Society Organizations (CSO). The next parliament is expected to choose the country's next president in early 2016. This will be Myanmar's second general election since the country began to emerge from decades of military rule in 2011.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has seen staggering changes. State censorship has been relaxed, political prisoners have been released, and foreign investment has poured in. For the country's powerful military, though, much remains the same. The military still controls Myanmar's largest business conglomerates, and most of the country's most lucrative economic sectors, such as natural gas drilling and gemstone mining. The military's economic influence in Myanmar mirrors its political power. One quarter of seats in parliament are reserved for military appointees, giving it veto power over all constitutional changes. This has meant little accountability when military forces are accused of rights abuses.

On August 13, 2015 Myanmar President Thein Sein carried out a purge of the leadership of the country’s ruling party in a major political shakeup ahead of national elections in November. The ousted officials were considered reform-minded and having good relations with Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy party. That relation would be one of the factors that pushed the removal of the top leaders from the party. Additional factors for their ouster likely were differing views on constitutional changes and the peace process which involves negotiations with 16 armed ethnic groups.

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said October 07, 2015 if her party wins upcoming elections she will lead the country from behind the scenes - circumventing a clause in the constitution that bars her from the presidency. If the Nov. 8 vote is credible, most observers believe Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party will win the most seats in the country's parliament. By forming a coalition with smaller parties, it could control a majority. A clause in the 2008 constitution, drafted when the country was under military rule, prevents Suu Kyi from taking the top job because her late husband and two children are British nationals. There are no obvious alternatives within her party's ranks.

Myanmar's election oversight body decided to proceed with the general election, as scheduled,in November, according to a government announcement 12 October 2015. "After reviewing statements from committee members about the pros and cons of postponement of election date, the Union Election Commission has decided to hold the general election on the previously scheduled date, November 8, without making any changes," said an announcer on the military-run Myawaddy television channel.

Aung San Suu Kyi said if the NLD prevails she “will be above the president.” Her comment has some observers, not only in Myanmar, apprehensive. She did not explain her remarks.

Myanmar’s military-backed ruling party faced a tough challenge as the country went to the polls 08 November 2015, even in parts where it might have expected strong support. Myanmar’s president vowed to cooperate with opposition parties for a stable transition should Sunday’s election knock him out of power. “The government and the military will respect and accept the results," President Thein Sein said. The ruling party contests the election with one decided advantage: 25 percent of the seats in parliament are reserved for military officers. The NLD neededs to capture 67 percent of the parliamentary seats in Sunday’s election to overcome the military’s veto in the bicameral legislature, known as the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, which selects the president.

Millions of voters went to the polls in Myanmar in what observers said was largely a smooth and peaceful vote seen as a milestone in the Southeast Asian country's transition from military dictatorship to democracy. Despite concerns about fairness amid the disenfranchisement of a million minority Rohingya Muslims, disputes over voter lists and overseas voting fraud, and violence in a poll where voting was cancelled in scores of war-torn townships, observers said the election appeared to have gone smoothly. Election officials put the turnout at 80 percent of the more than 30 million voters.

The USDP had campaigned on a platform of demonstrated reform, saying that Myanmar has made significant strides towards democracy -- ending the country’s global pariah status -- since President Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government took power from the former military regime in 2011. The main problem is that nobody trusts the government, so even if they do something right, people don’t trust them and think there must be some kind of devious scheme behind it.

Preliminary reports from around the country indicated a wide margin of victory for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) in the first free national election in 25 years. NLD spokesman Win Htein said the party had claimed more than 80 percent of the general election ballots tallied in Burma’s densely populated central regions.

National League for Democracy (NLD) captured an absolute majority of the parliamentary seats, giving it a landslide victory over the government and military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), official returns released 13 November 2015 by the Union Election Commission showed. That would allow the NLD to overcome the military’s veto in the bicameral 664-seat legislature, known as the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, which selects the president.

Prelimnary results were that the NLD captured 364 seats in both houses of parliament -- an astonishing 80 percent of the races called -- while the USDP trailed badly, winning only 40 seats. Smaller parties, including those of regional or ethnic-based groups, and independents have taken 48 seats collectively.

Myanmar election officials said the National League for Democracy won about 80 percent of the parliamentary seats contested in the November 8th election. The election commission announced the final results of 491 seats on 20 November 2015. They did not include the results of 7 seats for which no voting was held due to security concerns. The NLD, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won 390 seats, while the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, gained 42 seats.

Htin Kyaw, confirmed 11 March 2016 as presidential nominee for Myanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD), is a close aide to party leader Aung San Suu Kyi who’s believed likely to win the country’s top office and govern on her behalf. Htin Kyaw, 70, was at the democracy activist’s side when she was freed from house arrest in 2010. He has had a senior role with the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a charity founded in tribute to Aung San Suu Kyi’s mother. He previously had served in national government, rising to deputy director of its foreign economic relations department. He retired in 1992. Htin Kyaw outpaced the country’s incumbent vice president, Sai Mauk Kham, in first-round balloting, 274 to 29, to move a step closer to the presidency.

On March 15, 2016 Myanmar’s parliament voted to elect Htin Kyaw as the country’s next president. The retired bureaucrat from the National League for Democracy (NLD) won 360 out of the 652 votes cast in a joint meeting of the legislature, known as the Union Parliament.

Aung San Suu Kyi, declared she would retain ultimate power, and her handpicked president would not have totally free hands to run Myanmar, as the military automatically holds one-quarter of the parliamentary seats and will control several key ministries.

Seventy-year-old Htin Kyaw took the oath of office 30 March 2016 during a brief ceremony before a joint session of parliament. The country's two vice presidents, Myint Swe and Henry Van Tio, took the oath alongside Htin Kyaw. The swearing in formally marked the end of total or partial military rule in Myanmar dating back to 1962. He succeeded Thein Sein, a former general who took power in 2011 when the junta turned over control to a quasi-civilian government and pushed through sweeping political and economic reforms.

The constitution drafted by the military before it turned over power guaranteed the military would hold 25 percent of all parliamentary seats, plus the key ministerial posts of home affairs and defense. democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi would simultaneously hold the ministries of foreign affairs, education, energy and the president's office. Her role as foreign affairs minister ensures her a seat on the 11-member National Defense and Security Council (NDSC), which formulates policy on military and security issues, although the body is dominated 6-5 by military officers.

President Htin Kyaw nominated two bureaucrats to replace NLD chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi as head of two of the four ministries to which he appointed her. On 04 April 2016 Htin Kyaw has put forward Myo Thein Gyi, director general of the Department of Higher Education, as education minister, and Pe Zin Tun, permanent secretary of ministry of electric power and energy, as head of that ministry.

U Win Myint, a 66-year-old former political prisoner, was elected president on 28 March 2018 following the sudden resignation of Htin Kyaw. U Win Myint said he would review the military constitution, implement democracy and uphold human rights. Win Myint ran with State Councillor and Nobel Prize Winner Suu Kyi in a 1988 campaign.

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Page last modified: 01-08-2021 15:39:58 ZULU