Myanmar elections: What is happening? Your questions answered


Landmark polls are the biggest test yet for the military’s promises of reform and could see Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD win a majority.

What’s happening

Myanmar was ruled for five decades by a reclusive military junta that handpicked a nominally civilian government in 2010. This month the south-east Asian nation, formerly known as Burma, will vote in what is being touted as a free and fair election.

When is voting day?

Sunday November 8th.
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When will we know the results?

Not on the day. Preliminary results could be announced on the 10th but it could be days, maybe weeks, before the official count is tallied.

Whose running and who will win?

There are more than 6,000 candidates and 91 registered political parties, many of them representing the large ethnic minority populations. They are competing for 498 seats for five-year terms in the upper and lower houses of the Hluttaw, Myanmar’s parliament.

All eyes are on the two frontrunners — the ruling and military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD). Myanmar observers say the Nobel peace prize winner’s party is expected to make huge gains after winning 43 out of the 44 parliamentary seats it contested in 2012 by-elections.

In which case, Aung San Suu Kyi will become president?

No. A constitutional provision excludes her from the country’s top post as those with with foreign children are barred from the office. Suu Kyi’s late husband was British and she has two British sons.

In fact, no president will be announced until 2016 when elected MPs vote for a new leader. Three candidates run, two appointed by the Hluttaw and one by the military. The two runners-up become vice presidents.

However, Suu Kyi said in an interview last month that she plans to lead the country if her party triumphs despite the ban. The British-educated politician did not say how she would do that but added “the constitution will have to change to allow civilian authorities to have the necessary democratic authority over the armed forces.”

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