2020 Myanmar general election

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2020 Myanmar general election

← 2015 8 November 2020 2022 →

315 (of the 440) seats to the House of Representatives
221 seats needed for a majority
161 (of the 224) seats to the House of Nationalities[1]
113 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party
  Remise du Prix Sakharov à Aung San Suu Kyi Strasbourg 22 octobre 2013-18.jpg Than Htay USDP.jpg
Leader Aung San Suu Kyi Than Htay
Party NLD USDP
Leader since 27 September 1988 23 August 2016
Leader's seat Kawhmu Ran in Zeyathiri
Last election 255 R / 135 N 30 R / 11 N
Seats won 258 R / 138 N 26 R / 7 N
Seat change Increase3 R / Increase3 N Decrease4 R / Decrease4 N

Map Pyithu Hluttaw Election Results 2020 IFES MIMU1707v02 24Nov2020 A3.pdfMap Amyotha Hluttaw Election Results 2020 IFES MIMU1707v02 24Nov2020 A3.pdfMap St-Rg Election Results 2020 IFES MIMU1707v02 24Nov2020 A3.pdf
Results of the election in the Pyithu Hluttaw, Amyotha Hluttaw, as well as State and Regional Hluttaws

President before election

Win Myint
NLD

President after election

Election results annulled
Myint Swe named Acting President

General elections were held in Myanmar on 8 November 2020. Voting occurred in all constituencies, excluding seats appointed by or reserved for the military, to elect members to both the upper house- Amyotha Hluttaw (the House of Nationalities) and the lower house- Pyithu Hluttaw (the House of Representatives) of the Assembly of the Union, as well as State and Regional Hluttaws (legislatures). Ethnic Affairs Ministers were also elected by their designated electorates on the same day, although only select ethnic minorities in particular states and regions were entitled to vote for them. A total of 1,171 national, state, and regional seats were contested in the election, with polling having taken place in all townships, including areas considered conflict zones and self-administered regions.[2]

On 1 February 2021, the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces) declared the results of the election to be illegitimate and launched a coup d'état that deposed State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.[3]

Electoral system[edit]

All offices elected by popular vote are contested under a first-past-the-post system, in which a candidate needs only a plurality of votes in a constituency to be elected. All candidates must be citizens of Myanmar. One-quarter of seats in both houses of the Assembly of the Union and one-third of seats in state and regional legislatures are reserved for the military under the 2008 Constitution, and three ministries (Home Affairs, Border Affairs, and Defense) of the national government formed following the election must be headed by a military appointee. After the new legislators take office, the President and the two Vice Presidents of Myanmar are elected by the Presidential Electoral College, made up of MPs from three committees: one of elected members from each house of the Assembly of the Union, and one from the military-appointed members. Each committee recommends one candidate, and the Assembly then holds a vote. The position the candidates are elected to depends on their overall vote total (the highest vote-getter becomes President, while the second-highest becomes First Vice President, and the remaining candidate becomes Second Vice President). People married to a non-Burmese citizen and/or who have children without Burmese citizenship are barred from being elected to any presidential position. Elected officials will take office in March 2021. For a majority, a party or coalition(s) require 221 seats in the House of Representatives and 113 seats in the House of Nationalities.

On 29 June 2020, the Union Election Commission (UEC) announced the constituency reapportionment for the 168 non-appointed seats of the House of Nationalities (Amyotha Hluttaw), 330 non-appointed seats of the House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw), 644 non-appointed seats of the State and Regional Hluttaws and 29 Ethnic Affair Ministers. The UEC also announced in which constituencies elections would be fully or partially cancelled on 16 October 2020 and 27 October 2020. Elections were fully cancelled in 15 townships and partially in 41.

Elections were fully cancelled in:

  • 9 townships in Rakhine State
  • 6 townships in Shan State

Elections were partially cancelled in:

  • 2 townships and 42 village-tracts in Bago Region
  • 1 township and 94 village-tracts in Chin State
  • 11 townships and 192 village-tracts in Kachin State
  • 6 townships and 53 village-tracts in Kayin State
  • 1 township and 1 village-tract in Mon State
  • 4 townships, 15 wards and 130 village tracts in Rakhine State
  • 16 townships, 8 wards and 130 village tracts in Shan State
Constituencies of the 2020 Myanmar general election
Pyithu Hluttaw
(House of Representatives)
constituencies allocated
Amyotha Hluttaw
(House of Nationalities)
constituencies allocated
State and Regional Hluttaws
(State and Regional Assemblies)
constituencies allocated
Ethnic Affairs
Ministers constituencies allocated
Ayeyarwady Region 26 12 52 2
Bago Region 28 12 56 1
Chin State 9 12 18 0
Kachin State 18 12 36 4
Kayah State 7 12 14 1
Kayin State 7 12 14 3
Magway Region 25 12 50 1
Mandalay Region[a] 36 12 56 1
Mon State 10 12 20 3
Rakhine State 17 12 34 1
Sagaing Region 37 12 74 2
Shan State 55 12 110 7
Tanintharyi Region 10 12 20 1
Yangon Region 45 12 90 2
Total 330 168 644 29

Background[edit]

The prior elections in 2015 were only the second to be considered at least semi-democratic in the country since 1960 (the first being in 1990, which the military invalidated), as for a majority of its independent history, it was either controlled by a totalitarian dictatorship or a military junta. The National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won a majority of seats and votes, taking 86 percent of the seats in the Assembly of the Union (235 in the House of Representatives and 135 in the House of Nationalities), well more than the 67 percent supermajority needed to ensure that its preferred candidates would be elected president and second vice president in the Presidential Electoral College. The party technically also needed at least 67 percent to outvote the combined pro-military bloc in the Presidential Electoral College (the Union Solidarity and Development Party and the appointed legislators representing the military). Although NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi is constitutionally barred from the presidency (as both her late husband and her children are foreign citizens), she was the de facto head of government, after being appointed to a newly created office, the State Counsellor of Myanmar, a position akin to a Prime Minister.[4] Most political parties in the country are ethnically-based, with only two (the NLD and the USDP) having large sway at the national level, although both are dominated by the ethnic Bamar majority. Parties also tend to be based more on personality (based on the attitudes and personality of their leaders) rather than a stable ideological platform.

Statistics for share of the popular vote appear not to be available.

The election took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as both the Rohingya conflict and the Rohingya genocide (alongside international condemnation for these events). In addition, the government has also been criticised for restricting press freedom and having failed to deal with the country's economic issues, putting dents in its electoral promise of reform.[5][6][7]

Rohingya conflict[edit]

Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy's actions since being elected in 2015 have been described by international media and international organisations including the United Nations, International Criminal Court, and Amnesty International as failing to stop the persecution of the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority group mainly in Rakhine State,[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18] although it is unclear how much say they actually have, regardless of their relative silence on the matter. The actions of the military, who are said to hold the real power in the region,[19][20] have been described as crimes against humanity and a genocide.[21][22][23][24][25][26] Over 25,000 people have been killed in the conflicts, with tens of thousands more being injured or subjected to sexual violence,[27] in addition to over 725,000 people having fled the country, mostly to neighboring Bangladesh. Media activity in the province is heavily restricted by the government. The Rohingya are currently classed as stateless people, as Myanmar refuses to give them citizenship, claiming they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, despite evidence suggesting they have been present in the area for centuries. In the rare cases that Rohingya individuals do possess citizenship, the government routinely refuses to acknowledge the validity of documents they provide.[28]

Economic issues[edit]

According to the IMF:[29]

  • Myanmar has seen a sharp decline in exports, remittances, and tourist arrivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Domestic economic activity has also been constrained by measures taken to control the spread of the virus. Additionally, nearly four out of five workers in Myanmar are employed in the informal sector, with limited access to social safety nets to help cope with any economic fallout.
  • Natural gas comprised 40 percent of exports and 20 percent of government revenues in fiscal year 2018/19, and due to a drop in prices in 2020, the current account and fiscal position of the country became even more strained.
  • The Burmese kyat, in contrast to trends elsewhere in the region, has appreciated in value. "The country's trade deficit had narrowed for about a year, leading to exchange rate appreciation pressures. This trend has now started to unwind. This may continue as imports pick up and the economy is projected to recover. At the same time, Myanmar’s foreign exchange intervention rule, adopted late last year, has facilitated accumulation of foreign exchange reserves, which remain inadequate."

In addition, some construction and infrastructure projects have been either delayed or cancelled due to supply and demand shocks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the US$1 billion Yangon Elevated Expressway and the development of the US$8–10 billion Dawei Special Economic Zone and accompanying US$137.1 million Dawei-Htee Kee Road linking the zone to Ratchaburi in Thailand. The government has also not been able to muster up enough funds to put together a stimulus package, only allocating the equivalent of around US$72 million to assist small- and medium-sized enterprises compared to the tens of billions allocated in nearby countries like Thailand.[30] Prior to the pandemic, some areas of the country's economy had been highlighted as trouble spots, including bank lending and tourism.[31] GDP growth is expected to decline nearly 7% from the prior year, with overall GDP expected to about break even with the prior year due to the pandemic.[32]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

Despite only reporting around 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide as of early July 2020, Myanmar has limited testing capacity, so the true extent of the spread of the virus is still unknown. Regardless, authorities implemented strict containment measures early on, including travel restrictions, closure of land borders, and bans on mass public gatherings.[29] Nevertheless, the number of confirmed cases has ballooned to more than 50,000 by November 2020.

Constitutional reform[edit]

In January 2019, the National League for Democracy pushed for constitutional reform, but was unsuccessful because any changes required 75% approval in the legislature, and 25% of seats are reserved for the military. Outside of these seats, the pro-military USDP was also unlikely to go along (as well as other minor parties potentially being unwilling), meaning any proposals were dead on arrival.[31]

Election integrity[edit]

The 2020 election was observed by domestic and international election observers. In total, the Union Election Commission accredited 7,232 observers from 13 domestic groups at the union-level, an additional 985 observers from 23 groups at the state and region levels.[33] International observers included the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), the Carter Center, the European Union, and the government of Japan, totaling 61 international observers, 182 diplomatic observers, and 53 staff from IFES and International IDEA.[33]

A coalition of 12 domestic election observer groups found the election results credible, reflecting the will of the majority of voters.[34] The coalition also noted weaknesses in Myanmar's electoral legal framework, including the 2008 Constitution, and found some inconsistencies in electoral administration and election administration amid the ongoing pandemic.[34]

The Carter Center assessment did not find any major irregularities with conduct at polling stations.[35] A team of 43 observers had visited 234 polling stations across 10 of Myanmar's 14 states and regions.[36] The Carter Center praised the Union Election Commission's efforts to update the voter roll, train election officials, and adapt procedures for older voters during the COVID-19 pandemic.[35] It also noted that the UEC's failure to provide timely access to election data, and election postponements and cancellations that stopped voting for 1.4 million citizens.[35]

A month before the November elections, Human Rights Watch issued a report noting multiple issues in the upcoming election, characterizing it as "fundamentally flawed."[37] Its report noted the NLD government's extensive use of state media to promote its political platform, while opposition parties were not given as many chances to do so.[37] Opposition parties also faced censorship imposed on them by the NLD government.[37] Residents without citizenship documents were barred from voting in the election, which disproportionately affected the Rohingya, Burmese Indians and Sino-Burmese communities.[37] Townships in conflict areas faced denial of internet access for months before the election.[37] The report additionally took issue with 25% of the seats in parliament being reserved for the military.[37]

Opinion polls[edit]

Opinion polling is generally rare in Myanmar, meaning there is not much data on public opinion, although questions have occasionally been asked on political and other matters.

Question: In general, would you say our country is heading in the right or wrong direction?

Date Polling firm Publisher Right direction Wrong direction Don't know /

No response

July 2019 Center for Insights in Survey Research International Republican Institute 77 19 5
April 2017 Center for Insights in Survey Research International Republican Institute 75 16 9

The main item a majority felt the country was headed in the right direction with was infrastructure, while the main reasons people felt the country was headed in the wrong direction included increasing prices of goods, continuing poor economic conditions, and ethnic violence. Illicit drug use and crime were also cited as major problems in the 2019 poll.

Question: How would you describe the current economic situation in the country?

Date Polling firm Publisher Very good Somewhat good Somewhat bad Very bad Don't know /

No response

July 2019 Center for Insights in Survey Research International Republican Institute 10 51 25 9 5
April 2017 Center for Insights in Survey Research International Republican Institute 10 53 22 9 6

Question: As of now, in order to amend the Constitution it would require the support of more than 75% of parliament. Do you support or oppose making it easier to change the Constitution by amending this requirement?

Date Polling firm Publisher Strongly support Somewhat support Somewhat oppose Strongly oppose Don't know /

No response

July 2019 Center for Insights in Survey Research International Republican Institute 43 37 4 5 11
April 2017 Center for Insights in Survey Research International Republican Institute 48 32 4 5 11

Most respondents who supported making it easier to change the Constitution also supported changing the requirement that spouses and any children of a candidate be citizens in order to be eligible for the presidency.

Question: Do you support giving the states and regions more autonomy and power so that they can make decisions for themselves, or do you think that all power and decisions should be centralized and made by the union government?

Date Polling firm Publisher More regional autonomy Centralized power Don't know /

No response

July 2019 Center for Insights in Survey Research International Republican Institute 22 70 8
April 2017 Center for Insights in Survey Research International Republican Institute 23 67 10

Despite most respondents preferring more centralized power at the national level, slightly over half felt that states/regions should have more control over natural resources located within their boundaries.

Results[edit]

House of Nationalities[edit]

A ballot paper of 2020
Party Votes % Seats % +/–
National League for Democracy 138 61.6 Increase3
Union Solidarity and Development Party 7 3.1 Decrease4
Arakan National Party 4 1.8 Decrease6
Mon Unity Party 3 1.3 Increase3
Kayah State Democratic Party 3 1.3 Increase3
Shan National League for Democracy 2 0.9 Decrease1
Ta'ang National Party 2 0.9 Steady
Pa-O National Organization 1 0.4 Steady
New Democracy Party 1 0.4 Increase1
National Unity Party 0 0.0 Decrease1
Zomi Congress for Democracy 0 0.0 Decrease2
Independents 0 0.0 Decrease2
Cancelled due to insurgency 7 3.1 Increase7
Military appointees 56 25.0 Steady
Total 100 224 100
Source: [38][39]
State/Region NLD USDP Others Total
State
Chin 12 12
Kachin 10 1 1 12
Kayah 7 2 3 12
Kayin 11 1 12
Mon 9 3 12
Rakhine 1 4 5
Shan 4 3 5 12
Regional
Ayeyarwady 12 12
Bago 12 12
Magway 12 12
Mandalay 12 12
Sagaing 12 12
Taninthayi 12 12
Yangon 12 12
Total 138 7 16 161


The list of military appointees was published as the UEC Announcement 2/2016.[40]

House of Representatives[edit]

Party Votes % Seats % +/–
National League for Democracy 258 58.6 Increase3
Union Solidarity and Development Party 26 5.9 Decrease4
Shan National League for Democracy 13 3.0 Increase1
Arakan National Party 4 0.9 Decrease8
Ta'ang National Party 3 0.7 Steady
Pa-O National Organisation 3 0.7 Steady
Mon Unity Party 2 0.5 Increase2
Kayah State Democratic Party 2 0.5 Increase2
Kachin State People's Party 1 0.2 Steady
Arakan Front Party 1 0.2 Increase1
Wa National Party 1 0.2 Steady
Zomi Congress for Democracy 1 0.2 Decrease1
Kokang Democracy and Unity Party 0 0.0 Decrease1
Lisu National Development Party 0 0.0 Decrease2
Wa Democratic Party 0 0.0 Decrease1
Independents 0 0.0 Decrease1
Cancelled due to insurgency 15 3.4 Increase8
Military appointees 110 25.0 Steady
Total 100 440 100
Source: [41][38][39]
State/Region NLD USDP Others Total
State
Chin 8 1 9
Kachin 13 4 1 18
Kayah 4 1 2 7
Kayin 6 1 7
Mon 8 2 10
Rakhine 2 1 5 8
Shan 18 16 15 49
Regional
Ayeyarwady 26 26
Bago 28 28
Magway 25 25
Mandalay 35 1 36
Sagaing 36 1 37
Taninthayi 10 10
Yangon 44 1 45
Total 258 26 31 315

The list of military appointees was published as the UEC Announcement 1/2016.[42]

State and Regional Hluttaws[edit]

Party Votes % Seats % +/–
National League for Democracy 501 56.9 Increase25
Union Solidarity and Development Party 38 4.3 Decrease35
Shan Nationalities League for Democracy 27 3.1 Increase2
Arakan National Party 7 0.8 Decrease15
Ta'ang National Party 7 0.8 Steady
Pa-O National Organisation 7 0.8 Increase1
Mon Unity Party 6 0.7 Increase6
Kayah State Democratic Party 3 0.3 Increase3
Kachin State People's Party 3 0.3 Steady
Arakan Front Party 2 0.2 Increase2
Wa National Unity Party 2 0.2 Increase1
Chin National League for Democracy 1 0.1 Increase1
Kachin Democratic Party 1 0.1 Increase1
Lahu National Development Party 1 0.1 Steady
Lisu National Development Party 1 0.1 Decrease1
Kayin People's Party 1 0.1 Steady
Shan Nationalities Democratic Party 1 0.1 Steady
Zomi Congress for Democracy 1 0.1 Decrease1
Democratic Party 0 0.0 Decrease1
Kokang Democracy and Unity Party 0 0.0 Decrease1
Tai-Leng Nationalities Development Party 0 0.0 Decrease1
Independents 2 0.2 Increase1
Cancelled due to insurgency 48 5.5 Increase
Military appointees 220 25.0 Steady
Total 100 880 100
Source: [39]

[43]

State/Region NLD USDP Others Total
State
Chin 16 2 18
Kachin 28 4 8 40
Kayah 9 3 3 15
Kayin 13 2 2 17
Mon 17 6 23
Rakhine 5 1 9 15
Shan 33 24 48 105
Regional
Ayeyarwady 54 54
Bago 57 57
Magway 51 51
Mandalay 57 57
Sagaing 74 2 76
Taninthayi 21 21
Yangon 89 2 1 92
Total 501 38 73 612

[43]


The list of military appointees was published as the UEC Announcement 3/2016.[44]

Ethnic Affairs Ministers[edit]

29 Ministers of Ethnic Affairs for the State and Regional Assemblies were up for election.


Party Votes % Seats % +/–
National League for Democracy 23 79 Increase2
Mon Unity Party 1 3 Increase1
Kayan National Party 1 3 Increase1
Lahu National Development Party 1 3 Steady
Lisu National Development Party 1 3 Steady
Independents 2 7 Increase1
Others Decrease
Total 100 29 100
Source: [39]
State/Region NLD USDP Others Total
State
Chin
Kachin
Kayah
Kayin
Mon
Rakhine
Shan
Regional
Ayeyarwady
Bago
Magway
Mandalay
Sagaing
Taninthayi
Yangon
Total

Aftermath[edit]

Coup[edit]

Deposed State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi (left), and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (right)


A coup d'état in Myanmar began on the morning of 1 February 2021, when democratically elected members of the country's ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), were deposed by the Tatmadaw—Myanmar's military—which then vested power in a stratocracy. The Tatmadaw proclaimed a year-long state of emergency and declared power had been transferred to Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Min Aung Hlaing. It declared the results of the November 2020 general election invalid and stated its intent to hold a new election at the end of the state of emergency even though most of Myanmar's people are satisfied with the results of the election.[45][46] The coup d'état occurred the day before the Parliament of Myanmar was due to swear in the members elected at the 2020 election, thereby preventing this from occurring.[47][48][49] President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi were detained, along with ministers, their deputies and members of Parliament.[50][51]

On 3 February 2021, Win Myint was charged with breaching campaign guidelines and COVID-19 pandemic restrictions under section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law. Aung San Suu Kyi was charged with breaching emergency COVID-19 laws and for illegally importing and using radio and communication devices, specifically six ICOM devices from her security team and a walkie-talkie, which are restricted in Myanmar and need clearance from military-related agencies before acquisition.[52] Both were remanded in custody for two weeks.[53][54][55] Suu Kyi received an additional criminal charge for violating the National Disaster Act on 16 February,[56] two additional charges for violating communications laws and an intent to incite public unrest on 1 March and another of violating the official secrets act on 1 April.[57][58]

As of 12 April 2021, at least 707 civilians, including children, have been killed by military or police forces and at least 3,070 people detained.[59][60][61] Three prominent NLD members also died while in police custody in March 2021.[62][63]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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  39. ^ a b c d "၂၀၂၀ ပြည့်နှစ် ပါတီစုံဒီမိုကရေစီအထွေထွေရွေးကောက်ပွဲ ရလဒ်များ ထုတ်ပြန်ပြီးစီးကြောင်း အသိပေးကြေညာခြင်း". Union Election Commission (in Burmese). 15 November 2020.
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