Tough race expected in Myanmar elections

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Myanmar elections Kyi_Mann
Shwe Mann (left), top member of the ruling USDP party and speaker of the House of Representatives, is expected to run in the upcoming general elections in Myanmar. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will run for a parliamentary seat.

After Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s registration to run for Myanmar’s general election on November 8, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is bracing for big losses.

“We don’t expect a result from this election like the result we got in 2010,” USDP General Secretary Maung Maung Thein told reporters at a press conference in Yangon on July 29. His party will name candidates to run for 149 seats in parliament.

However, Aung San Suu Kyi, the first candidate confirmed by the National League for Democracy, can just run for a seat in parliament and has no chance to be named president as she is banned by the constitution to take the top job – because her late husband was and her two sons are British.

A president will be chosen later by parliament. So far it is not entirely clear who the main candidates are as candidate registration closes only on August 8.

Shwe Mann, an important figure in the junta who is now speaker of the House of Representatives, will run as USDP candidate in a quest to take over from President Thein Sein who will probably step aside when his term ends. At least he has not confirmed that he will run in the polls, but Shwe Mann submitted his application to compete in the polls to the Election Commission on July 30.

Other potential candidates from the USDP could include Khin Aung Myint, the speaker of the Upper House and Soe Maung, a minister in the president’s office, besides the current Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, Min Aung Hlaing, and the party’s vice-president Htay Oo.

Apart from that, the prominent leader of Myanmar’s 88 Generation Student democracy movement Ko Ko Gyi said on July 20 that he will contest in the election under Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition National League for Democracy party, despite facing criminal charges for organising an unapproved protest late last year.

For many of Myanmar’s roughly 30 million voters, the Myanmar elections could be the first-ever chance to cast their votes in a nationwide poll contested by the country’s main opposition. But Myanmar’s parliament continues to be dominated by the army, with a quarter of the seats reserved for unelected soldiers. This provision means any major charter change needs a majority of more than 75 per cent – giving the military the final say.

The government under Thein Sein, a former general, has been credited with ending draconian media censorship, freeing political prisoners and launching economic reforms that have seen the lifting of most Western sanctions. Sectors such as telecommunications, manufacturing, and financial services have benefited from the opening up to foreign investment. Myanmar is in a good position to compete for foreign funding, but this depends on the next administration’s commitment and capacity to continue liberalising and improving socio-political stability.

But Suu Kyi and rights campaigners have increasingly warned that reforms have stalled or even reversed in some areas, with dozens of student protesters behind bars and the tightening of media freedoms.

Marco Buente, a Myanmar expert at Kuala Lumpur’s Monash University, also believes the November vote will be extremely significant. “For the first time in many decades there will be a real competition between several political parties and politicians. The election is also crucial for the continuity of the reform process.”

But political uncertainty and the military’s firm grip on power have raised concerns about the business environment in Myanmar. Financial magazine Euromoney said its survey experts “have remained consistently cautious over the country’s investor prospects.” The Economist magazine said foreign investors have adopted a wait-and-see approach.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Shwe Mann (left), top member of the ruling USDP party and speaker of the House of Representatives, is expected to run in the upcoming general elections in Myanmar. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will run for a parliamentary seat.

After Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s registration to run for Myanmar’s general election on November 8, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is bracing for big losses.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Myanmar elections Kyi_Mann
Shwe Mann (left), top member of the ruling USDP party and speaker of the House of Representatives, is expected to run in the upcoming general elections in Myanmar. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will run for a parliamentary seat.

After Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s registration to run for Myanmar’s general election on November 8, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is bracing for big losses.

“We don’t expect a result from this election like the result we got in 2010,” USDP General Secretary Maung Maung Thein told reporters at a press conference in Yangon on July 29. His party will name candidates to run for 149 seats in parliament.

However, Aung San Suu Kyi, the first candidate confirmed by the National League for Democracy, can just run for a seat in parliament and has no chance to be named president as she is banned by the constitution to take the top job – because her late husband was and her two sons are British.

A president will be chosen later by parliament. So far it is not entirely clear who the main candidates are as candidate registration closes only on August 8.

Shwe Mann, an important figure in the junta who is now speaker of the House of Representatives, will run as USDP candidate in a quest to take over from President Thein Sein who will probably step aside when his term ends. At least he has not confirmed that he will run in the polls, but Shwe Mann submitted his application to compete in the polls to the Election Commission on July 30.

Other potential candidates from the USDP could include Khin Aung Myint, the speaker of the Upper House and Soe Maung, a minister in the president’s office, besides the current Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, Min Aung Hlaing, and the party’s vice-president Htay Oo.

Apart from that, the prominent leader of Myanmar’s 88 Generation Student democracy movement Ko Ko Gyi said on July 20 that he will contest in the election under Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition National League for Democracy party, despite facing criminal charges for organising an unapproved protest late last year.

For many of Myanmar’s roughly 30 million voters, the Myanmar elections could be the first-ever chance to cast their votes in a nationwide poll contested by the country’s main opposition. But Myanmar’s parliament continues to be dominated by the army, with a quarter of the seats reserved for unelected soldiers. This provision means any major charter change needs a majority of more than 75 per cent – giving the military the final say.

The government under Thein Sein, a former general, has been credited with ending draconian media censorship, freeing political prisoners and launching economic reforms that have seen the lifting of most Western sanctions. Sectors such as telecommunications, manufacturing, and financial services have benefited from the opening up to foreign investment. Myanmar is in a good position to compete for foreign funding, but this depends on the next administration’s commitment and capacity to continue liberalising and improving socio-political stability.

But Suu Kyi and rights campaigners have increasingly warned that reforms have stalled or even reversed in some areas, with dozens of student protesters behind bars and the tightening of media freedoms.

Marco Buente, a Myanmar expert at Kuala Lumpur’s Monash University, also believes the November vote will be extremely significant. “For the first time in many decades there will be a real competition between several political parties and politicians. The election is also crucial for the continuity of the reform process.”

But political uncertainty and the military’s firm grip on power have raised concerns about the business environment in Myanmar. Financial magazine Euromoney said its survey experts “have remained consistently cautious over the country’s investor prospects.” The Economist magazine said foreign investors have adopted a wait-and-see approach.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid