YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Myanmar holds national and state elections on Sunday, in which the National League for Democracy party of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi will seek to wield power.
Here’s a closer look at the vote:
THE BASIC THINGS
More than 37 million out of a total of 56 million Burmese are eligible to vote. More than 90 parties are seeking candidates for seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The NLD̵7;s resounding victory in the last election in 2015 came after more than five decades of military or military rule. Those polls are considered largely free and fair with one major exception – the 2008 military-drafted constitution automatically gave the military 25% of the seats in Congress, enough to prevent changes. constitutional change. That is still true.
Overshadowing the polls is the coronavirus and the drawbacks to stopping it, potentially reducing voter turnout despite government plans for social segregation and other safety measures .
Ms. Suu Kyi’s party was very supportive to win again, though perhaps with a falling majority. Suu Kyi is by far the most famous politician in the country and the NLD has a strong national network, bolstered by wielding the levers of state power.
However, the NLD has been criticized for its lack of vision and for adopting some of the more authoritarian methods of its military predecessors, especially targeting critics through the courts.
Ms. Suu Kyi’s party has lost the cooperation of many ethnic minority parties, which are common in their border region homeland. In 2015, these parties were tacit allies to the NLD and were arranged not to compete fiercely as the split could bring victory to the military-backed Solidarity and Development Party, or USDP.
Suu Kyi’s failure to reach an agreement that gives minorities the greater political autonomy they’ve been looking for for decades has disappointed them, and this year they will be more anti-NLD than anti- re it. There are about 60 minor ethnic parties.
The main opposition USDP was formed as a representative of the military and was once again the strongest competitor of the NLD. It is well funded and well organized. Whether voters will find it tainted by its association with previous military regimes is not clear.
To a large extent, the polls are seen as a referendum on Suu Kyi’s five years in power, as well as the 2015 election as a ruling on the military regime.
There is economic growth, but it benefits a small portion of the population in one of the poorest countries in the region and doesn’t meet popular expectations.
Not only ethnic groups were disappointed by Suu Kyi’s not giving them greater autonomy, but in the western state of Rakhine the well-trained and well-equipped Arakan Army – a group claiming to represent The Buddhist Rakhine ethnic group – has risen to become the greatest military threat in many years.
The elimination of votes by the Election Commission in some areas where government-critical parties are sure to gain seats has attracted harsh criticism. The move is estimated to have taken ownership of more than 1 million people. Critics accused the Election Commission of plotting to carry out the NLD’s bid
The topic that attracts the most global attention, the repression of the Muslim minority Rohingya, is not an electoral issue except for anti-Muslim politicians. A brutal anti-insurgency campaign in 2017 sent some 740,000 Rohingya across the border to Bangladesh, but they have long faced systematic discrimination that denied them citizenship and the right to vote. dispatch.