Burmese general election, 1960
All 250 seats in the Chamber of Deputies
126 seats needed for a majority
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General elections were held in Burma on 6 February 1960 to install a government to take over from General Ne Win's interim administration, established in October 1958. The military-led administration was credited for bringing stability and improving infrastructure in the country, though it suppressed some civil liberties.
The elections were seen as not so much a contest between the Clean AFPFL of U Nu against the Stable AFPFL of Kyaw Nyein and Ba Swe, but a referendum on the policies of the interim military government between 1958 and 1960. The result was a victory for the Clean AFPFL, which won 157 of the 250 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.
The elections set a precedent to other Middle Eastern and South Asian leaders, where the military voluntary handed over to a civilian government and held free elections. However, only two years after his election victory, Nu was overthrown by a coup d'état led by General Ne Win on 2 March 1962.
The Clean AFPFL, led by U Nu, and Stable AFPFL, led by U Kyaw Nyein and U Ba Swe, had been formed after a split in the main AFPFL party in June 1958. Until the military took over in October 1958, U Nu relied on the communists to retain a majority in parliament.
Despite the formation of the two parties, there were no major ideological differences between them and their policies were similar, especially with regards to non-alignment, although the Stable faction favoured industrialisation and the Clean faction spoke more of agricultural development. The Stable faction had given the impression it was favoured by the army, but, after realising the army was not as favoured as first thought, distanced itself. It had also argued it represented stability. Meanwhile, the "Clean" faction warned against the "dangers of fascist dictatorship", and criticised the current leaders for their "drinking and womanising". The communist NUF was severely repressed by the caretaker military government and was therefore outside the two main parties.
The Clean AFPFL chose yellow to campaign, as it was the colour worn by monks, while the Stable AFPFL chose red and the National Union Front chose blue.
An estimated 10,000,000 Burmese were eligible to vote. The military largely stayed away on voting day, although it was present at some ballot boxes. Boxes for the "Clean" faction featured pictures of U Nu which the "Stable" faction and other smaller parties alleged confused the voter into thinking they were voting for Nu personally. Polls closed at 6pm and a crowd estimated at 20,000 gathered at the Sule Pagoda in the capital Rangoon to hear results as they were posted. The "Clean" faction took all 9 seats in the capital including one they were prepared to concede, while the "Stable" faction had some strength in the countryside.
Media coverage of the event was restricted to print media only and vigorously covered, but was largely ignored by the state-run Burma Broadcasting Service which had not aired opposition coverage since before the AFPFL split.
|National United Front||262,199||4.8||3||–45|
|Arakanese National Unity Organisation||160,783||7.3||6||0|
|United Hill People's Congress||6||–8|
|Kachin National Congress||3||+1|
|Mon National Front||3||New|
|People's Educational and Cultural Development Organisation||2||–2|
|Chin National Organisation||1||New|
|Kayah National United League||1||New|
|Kayah Democratic League||1||New|
|All Nationalist Alliance||0||New|
|All-Shan State Organisation||0||–4|
|Buddhist Democratic Party||0||New|
|Burma Democratic Party||0||0|
|Burma Nationalist Party||0||–1|
|Source: The 1960 Elections Burma, Nohlen et al.|
|Source: Nohlen et al.|
- Bigelow, Lee S (1960). "The 1960 Elections in Burma". Far Eastern Survey. Institute of Pacific Relations. 29 (5): 70–74. doi:10.1525/as.1960.29.5.01p13582. JSTOR 3024046.
- Rotberg, Robert I (1998). Burma: prospects for a democratic future. Brookings Institution Press. p. 43. ISBN 978-0-8157-7581-2.
- Butwell, Richard; von der Mehden, Fred (1960). "The 1960 Election in Burma". Pacific Affairs. Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia. 33 (2): 144–157. JSTOR 2752941.
- "General Ne Win bows out". The Glasgow Herald. 10 February 1960.
- Grant, Bruce (8 February 1960). "All Asia is watching Burma's democratic election". The Age.
- Associated Press (9 February 1960). "'Foes' of corruption win easily in Burma election". Herald-Journal.
- Associated Press (10 February 1960). "U Nu victory changes trend". The Spokesman-Review.
- Grant, Bruce (9 February 1960). "Burma states her policy". The Age.
- Butwell, Richard (1960). "The new political outlook in Burma". Far Eastern Survey. Institute of Pacific Relations. 29 (2): 21–27. doi:10.1525/as.1960.29.2.01p1337u. JSTOR 3024460.
- United Press International (7 February 1960). "Burma voters cast ballots for deputies". St. Petersburg Times.
- Associated Press (9 February 1960). "U Nu 'cleans' bidding for sweep in voting". Daytona Beach Morning Journal.
- Dieter Nohlen, Florian Grotz & Christof Hartmann (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p603 ISBN 0-19-924958-X