1947 Burmese general election

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1947 Burmese general election

← 1936 9 April 1947 1951–52 →

210 seats to the Constituent Assembly
106 seats needed for a majority
  First party Second party Third party
  Aung San color portrait.jpg Mahn Win Maung.jpg ThaKhin Than Htun.jpg
Leader Aung San Win Maung Thakin Than Tun
Seats won 173 19 7
Popular vote 1,755,000 109,000 126,000

Premier before election

Aung San

Prime Minister-elect

U Nu

State seal of Myanmar.svg
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General elections were held in Burma on 9 April 1947 to form the basis of a constituent assembly that would design a constitution once independence from the United Kingdom had been achieved.[1] They were the first elections in Burma since its separation from India under the British Raj.[2] Voter turnout was 49.8%.[3] However, Aung San was assassinated three months later, resulting in U Nu becoming the first Prime Minister of Burma.


The elections were among a number of provisions agreed on 27 January 1947 between Burmese nationalist Aung San on a visit to London and British Prime Minister Clement Attlee guaranteeing Burma's independence from the UK within a year.[4]


In 56 non-communal constituencies, candidates from the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League (AFPFL) ran unopposed. U Saw, leader of the Patriot's Party, accused the AFPFL of intimidation and corruption during the election campaign and boycotted the election, as did Ba Sein and his party, accusing the AFPFL of being a "stooges" of British imperialism.[5][6] Reasons given for the low turnout included the instability left by the Japanese occupation of Burma and the struggle for independence.[1] Other candidates in the election included a few independents and communists.[7] The election was certified as free and fair.[2]


Turnout was generally low, around 50% in contested constituencies.[1]

Party Votes % Seats
Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League 1,755,000 173
Communist Party of Burma 126,000 7
Karen Youth Organisation 109,000 19
Independent Karen 5
Anglo-Burmese 4
Independents 2
Invalid/blank votes
Total 100 210
Registered voters/turnout 49.8
Source: Nohlen et al.


On 19 July 1947, Aung San was assassinated along with six other members of the party and the leadership of the AFPFL was taken over by U Nu.[8] A constitution was approved on 24 September 1947 and independence granted on 4 January 1948.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Rotberg, Robert I. (1998). Burma: prospects for a democratic future (2nd ed.). Brookings Institution Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-8157-7582-9.
  2. ^ a b c Saffin, Janelle (2000). "Burma's Election and Constitutional History: A Snapshot". Legal Issues on Burma Journal. Burma Lawyers' Council. 7.
  3. ^ Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p610 ISBN 0-19-924958-X
  4. ^ Oṅ, Chan; Silverstein, Josef (1993). The political legacy of Aung San. SEAP Publications. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-87727-128-4.
  5. ^ A.A.P. (April 9, 1947). "Burmese go to the polls, boycotts by most parties". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  6. ^ Appleton, G. (1947). "Burma Two Years After Liberation". International Affairs. Blackwell Publishing. 23 (4): 510–521. JSTOR 3016561.
  7. ^ Hendershot, Clarence (1947). "Burma Compromise". Far Eastern Survey. Institute of Pacific Relations. 16 (12): 133–138. doi:10.1525/as.1947.16.12.01p0193t.
  8. ^ Morse, Erik A.; Mitchell, Ronald K. (2006). Cases in entrepreneurship: the venture creation process. SAGE. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-4129-0976-1.