Myanmar readies for general elections in early November

The campaign for Myanmar’s 2020 general election started formally on September 8, with state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), tipped for victory in the second national polls since the country emerged from decades of junta rule.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, despite her reputation shattered overseas by her controversial approach to the treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar’s eastern Rakhine state, is still much revered at home and likely to attract numerous supporters on the campaign trail.

However, Suu Kyi pulled out of the first event of her election campaign, citing a worsening outbreak of the coronavirus across the country. She was set to tour the constituency where she is seeking re-election in the commercial capital of Yangon, but said on Facebook that the health minister had advised her to cancel the trip and she obliged.

At the general election, which is scheduled for November 8, a total of 1,171 national, state and regional seats are up for grabs, with polling set to take place in all townships, including areas considered conflict zones and self-administered regions.

While some are warning that the coronavirus pandemic could possibly derail the vote and it should better be postponed, a delay seems to be unlikely. NLD supporters are currently busy producing stickers, T-shirts and the 2020 face mask accessory for the campaign. They, in line with NLD members, are certain the party would win in a landslide as it happened in the 2015 elections.

Myanmar’s army is still influential at key state positions

Analysts see the polls as an important test of Myanmar’s transition away from direct military rule as the armed forces are still hugely powerful in a country governed under a constitution written by the former junta. The military still controls three key ministries and 25 per cent of parliamentary seats, effectively giving the institution a veto on legislation.

In addition, Suu Kyi’s administration has come under pressure internationally over a military crackdown that drove hundreds of thousands of Rohingya into Bangladesh in 2017. She personally appeared at an international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, to defend the army against allegations of rape, arson and mass killing in the campaign, which rights groups have said was tantamount to genocide.

But at home, Aung San Suu Kyi remains overwhelmingly popular, although her government has struggled to match sky-high expectations with regards to improving the economy and implementing political reforms.

The NLD’s main challenger is the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which oversaw the country’s transitional government for five years before Aung San Suu Kyi took office. While the NLD is expected to do better than others in the election, analysts say its large majority could be dented.

Other major parties are largely representing the interests of ethnic minorities, namely the Arakan National Party, representing the interests of the Rakhine people in Rakhine state and the Yangon region, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, representing Shan province, the Ta’ang National Party (for the ethnic Khmer) and the Zomi Congress for Democracy from eastern Chin state which borders India.



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The campaign for Myanmar’s 2020 general election started formally on September 8, with state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), tipped for victory in the second national polls since the country emerged from decades of junta rule. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, despite her reputation shattered overseas by her controversial approach to the treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar's eastern Rakhine state, is still much revered at home and likely to attract numerous supporters on the campaign trail. However, Suu Kyi pulled out of the first event of her election campaign, citing...

The campaign for Myanmar’s 2020 general election started formally on September 8, with state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), tipped for victory in the second national polls since the country emerged from decades of junta rule.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, despite her reputation shattered overseas by her controversial approach to the treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar’s eastern Rakhine state, is still much revered at home and likely to attract numerous supporters on the campaign trail.

However, Suu Kyi pulled out of the first event of her election campaign, citing a worsening outbreak of the coronavirus across the country. She was set to tour the constituency where she is seeking re-election in the commercial capital of Yangon, but said on Facebook that the health minister had advised her to cancel the trip and she obliged.

At the general election, which is scheduled for November 8, a total of 1,171 national, state and regional seats are up for grabs, with polling set to take place in all townships, including areas considered conflict zones and self-administered regions.

While some are warning that the coronavirus pandemic could possibly derail the vote and it should better be postponed, a delay seems to be unlikely. NLD supporters are currently busy producing stickers, T-shirts and the 2020 face mask accessory for the campaign. They, in line with NLD members, are certain the party would win in a landslide as it happened in the 2015 elections.

Myanmar’s army is still influential at key state positions

Analysts see the polls as an important test of Myanmar’s transition away from direct military rule as the armed forces are still hugely powerful in a country governed under a constitution written by the former junta. The military still controls three key ministries and 25 per cent of parliamentary seats, effectively giving the institution a veto on legislation.

In addition, Suu Kyi’s administration has come under pressure internationally over a military crackdown that drove hundreds of thousands of Rohingya into Bangladesh in 2017. She personally appeared at an international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, to defend the army against allegations of rape, arson and mass killing in the campaign, which rights groups have said was tantamount to genocide.

But at home, Aung San Suu Kyi remains overwhelmingly popular, although her government has struggled to match sky-high expectations with regards to improving the economy and implementing political reforms.

The NLD’s main challenger is the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which oversaw the country’s transitional government for five years before Aung San Suu Kyi took office. While the NLD is expected to do better than others in the election, analysts say its large majority could be dented.

Other major parties are largely representing the interests of ethnic minorities, namely the Arakan National Party, representing the interests of the Rakhine people in Rakhine state and the Yangon region, the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, representing Shan province, the Ta’ang National Party (for the ethnic Khmer) and the Zomi Congress for Democracy from eastern Chin state which borders India.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

$
Personal Info

Donation Total: $10.00

 

 

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