Myanmar general election, 2015

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Myanmar general election, 2015
Myanmar
← 2010 8 November 2015 2020 →

330 (of the 440) seats to the House of Representatives
221 seats needed for a majority 168 (of the 224) seats to the House of Nationalities

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 TheinSeinASEAN.jpg
Leader Aung San Suu Kyi Thein Sein
Party NLD USDP
Leader since 27 September 1988 2 June 2010
Leader's seat Kawhmu Did not contest
Last election Did not contest 259 R / 129 N
Seats before 37 R / 4 N 212 R / 124 N
Seats won 255 R / 135 N 30 R / 11 N
Seat change Increase218 R / Increase131 N Decrease182 R / Decrease113 N

President before election

Thein Sein
USDP

President after election

Htin Kyaw
NLD

State seal of Myanmar.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Myanmar

General elections were held in Myanmar on 8 November 2015, with the National League for Democracy winning a supermajority of seats in the combined national parliament. Voting occurred in all constituencies, excluding seats appointed by the military, to select Members of Assembly to seats in both the upper house (the House of Nationalities) and the lower house (the House of Representatives) of the Assembly of the Union, and State and Region Hluttaws. 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.

These polls are the first openly-contested election held in the country since 1990, which was annulled by the military government after the National League for Democracy's (NLD) victory. The poll was preceded by the 2010 General Election, which was marred by a widespread boycott and allegations of systematic fraud by the victorious Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

The NLD won a sweeping victory, 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 will be elected president and second vice president in the Presidential Electoral College. While the NLD only needed a simple majority to carry on the normal business of government, it needed at least 67 percent to outvote the combined pro-military bloc in the Presidential Electoral College (the USDP and the appointed legislators representing the military). While NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi is constitutionally barred from the presidency (as both her late husband and her children are foreign citizens), she is the de facto head of government, after being appointed to a newly created office, the State Counsellor of Myanmar.[1]

Preparation[edit]

As the election approached, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party confirmed it would contest its winning constituencies from 2010.[2] The opposition National League for Democracy party confirmed it would contest even if a constitutional measure barring Aung San Suu Kyi from running for president was not amended.[3]

The National Unity Party confirmed it would review its winning seats from 2010 and would consider other constituencies to challenge. The National Democratic Force said the party was prepared to challenge in as many as 200 constituencies but was still determining candidates. Ethnic political groups would contest in each state based on ethnic party strongholds, although some indicated they would consider forming an alliance as the Federal Union Party.

Before the election, 91 political parties were registered to take part in 2015.

In July 2015, Myanmar's Union Election Commission (UEC) designated the number of constituencies for running in the 2015 general election of four levels of parliamentary representatives: 330 constituencies for elections to the House of Representatives (the lower house), 168 for the House of Nationalities (the upper house), 644 for the State and Regional Hluttaws (local parliaments) and 29 for ethnic ministers of the local parliaments. The UEC also issued procedures for international observers to follow in monitoring the election, which was preliminarily scheduled for the end of October or the beginning of November.[4]

The Union Election Commission cancelled elections in Kyethi and Mong Hsu townships in Shan State following armed clashes between the Tatmadaw and the insurgent Shan State Army - North. Despite calls by the Shan State Progressive Party to proceed with the elections, the UEC has denied the request, stating that it is not possible to hold free and fair elections in these areas. Elections were further cancelled in some villages in Hopang, Namtit, both of which fall within the nation's Wa Self-Administered Division, and under the control of the insurgent United Wa State Army. The cancellation of these elections will see the vacancy of 7 seats in the House of Representatives and 14 seats in the Shan State Hluttaw.

Cancellation of by-elections[edit]

By-elections had been scheduled to be held in November or December 2014, to elect members for six seats in the House of Nationalities, 13 in the House of Representatives, and 11 in state and regional legislatures. The seat vacancies were primarily the result of their former holders' moves to ministerial posts or departmental positions within government, but also included some other constituencies where representatives had died.[5][6][7][8] The by-elections were expected to indicate the relative strengths of the contending parties, including President Thein Sein's Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party led by Aung San Suu Kyi.[6]

On 7 September 2014, the Union Election Commission cancelled the by-election because the period for campaigning would take place too close to that of the general elections in 2015 and because the results would therefore not have had any political significance.[9][10]

Possible presidential candidates[edit]

Before election[edit]

In the event of a USDP victory, President Thein Sein was considered the frontrunner to continue as President after the election. Commander-in-Chief of the Military Min Aung Hlaing is close to retirement and was another favourite for the presidency, but may assume the role after a transitional period headed by another ex-military figure. Aung San Suu Kyi has reiterated her desire to become the next president but constitutional changes need to take place before she would be allowed to run.[11] Although Parliament voted against most constitutional amendments on 25 June 2015 meaning that Aung San Suu Kyi cannot become president in the election,[12] Suu Kyi later stated that she would be "above the President" if the NLD won the elections.[13]

Shwe Mann, the former No. 3 in the junta who is now speaker of House of Representatives, considered reform-minded, was the most likely figure to take the mantle from Thein Sein until he was removed from his position within the party on 12 August 2015.[14][15]

After election[edit]

While National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is constitutionally barred from the presidency, former commander-in-chief of Tatmadaw Tin Oo, Aung San Suu Kyi's personal physician Tin Myo Win, Htin Kyaw, Myo Aung and Tin Mar Aung are mentioned as possible presidential picks and Khun Htun Oo, Sai Nyunt Lwin and Aye Thar Aung are mentioned as possible vice presidential picks after the election.[16][17] On 10 March 2016, Htin Kyaw and Henry Van Thio were nominated as the Vice Presidents of Myanmar by NLD. Htin Kyaw was elected as the ninth president of Myanmar on 15 March 2016 by 360 of the 652 MPs at the Assembly of the Union; Aung San Suu Kyi was appointed as the State Counsellor, a position similar to Prime Minister, on 6 April 2016.

Results[edit]

A polling station used for elections. The ballot boxes are at the front, while the voting booths are at the rear.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) obtained a majority of the total seats in both the House of Nationalities and the House of Representatives of the Assembly of the Union, which is enough for its nominees to win election as president and first vice president in the Presidential Electoral College, and for control over national legislation.[18]

The NLD also received a majority of total combined seats in the State and Regional Hluttaws, including 21 of 29 Ministers of Ethnic Affairs. With the final tally of all elected seats (township and ethnic), it is believed they will have the ability to control most local governments and parliaments, either entirely on its own or with the support of ethnic parties. The exceptions to this are the Rakhine State Hluttaw, where the Arakan National Party won a plurality of total seats and is expected to govern with the NLD's support, and the Shan State Hluttaw, where the USDP (which won a plurality of elected seats) and Military Representatives control roughly equal seats to the combined total of the various other parties, led by the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy and the NLD in second and third place, respectively.

House of Nationalities[edit]

A ballot paper and rubber stamp in voting booth

168 of the 224 seats in the House of Nationalities (Amyotha Hluttaw) were up for election. The remaining 56 seats (25%) were not elected, and instead reserved for military appointees (taken from Tatmadaw personnel; officially known as "Defence Services Personnel Representatives"). There are 12 members elected per state/region, including one member from each self-administered zone.

Party Votes % Seats % +/–[a]
National League for Democracy 135 60.3 Increase135
Union Solidarity and Development Party 11 4.9 Decrease118
Arakan National Party 10 4.5 Increase3
Shan Nationalities League for Democracy 3 1.3 Increase3
Ta'ang National Party 2 0.9 Increase1
Zomi Congress for Democracy 2 0.9 Increase2
Mon National Party 1 0.4 Increase1
National Unity Party 1 0.4 Decrease4
Pa-O National Organisation 1 0.4 Steady
All Mon Region Democracy Party 0 0.0 Decrease4
Shan Nationalities Democratic Party 0 0.0 Decrease3
Independent 2 0.9 Increase1
Others 0 0.0 Decrease18
Military appointees 56 25.0 Steady
Total 100 224 100
Source: Myanmar Times,[19] UEC[20]

The list of military appointees was published as the UEC Announcement 2/2016.[22]

House of Representatives[edit]

There are 330 of 440 seats in the House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw) that are elected, of which 323 were filled after seven seats were cancelled due to the ongoing armed insurgencies in Shan State.[23] The remaining 110 seats (25%) were not elected, and instead reserved for military appointees (taken from Tatmadaw personnel; officially known as "Defence Services Personnel Representatives"). Members are elected to constituencies based on township and population.

Party Votes % Seats % +/–[a]
National League for Democracy 12,794,561 57.06 255 58.0 Increase255
Union Solidarity and Development Party 6,341,920 28.28 30 6.8 Decrease229
Arakan National Party 490,664 2.19 12 2.7 Increase3
National Unity Party 419,442 1.87 0 0.0 Decrease12
Shan Nationalities League for Democracy 352,914 1.57 12 2.7 Increase12
Pa-O National Organisation 224,673 1.00 3 0.7 Steady
Myanmar Farmers Development Party 171,821 0.77 0 0.0 Steady
Shan Nationalities Democratic Party 133,486 0.60 0 0.0 Decrease18
National Democratic Force 112,285 0.50 0 0.0 Decrease8
Ta'ang National Party 97,394 0.43 3 0.7 Increase2
Mon National Party 94,621 0.42 0 0.0 Steady
Kayin People's Party 82,910 0.37 0 0.0 Decrease1
Kachin State Democracy Party 27,877 0.12 1 0.2 Increase1
Zomi Congress for Democracy 27,142 0.12 2 0.5 Increase2
Lisu National Development Party 24,096 0.11 2 0.5 Increase2
Kokang Democracy and Unity Party 13,990 0.06 1 0.2 Increase1
Wa Democratic Party 8,216 0.04 1 0.2 Decrease1
Independent and others 1,005,617 4.48 1 0.2 Decrease11
Cancelled due to insurgence 7 1.6 Increase2
Military appointees 110 25.0 Steady
Total 22,423,629 100 440 100
Source: Psephos - Adam Carr's Election Archive[24]

The list of military appointees was published as the UEC Announcement 1/2016.[26]

State and Regional Hluttaws[edit]

There are 644 district seats[27] (out of a total of 864)[b][c] in the State and Regional Hluttaws, or Local Assemblies, of which 630 were up for election after 14 seats were cancelled due to the ongoing armed insurgencies in Shan State. These figures exclude the 29 elected Ethnic Affairs Ministers, who have different election parameters and their accountability solely to an ethnic electorate, but also sit alongside the elected district and appointed military members of their respective state/region. There are two members are elected for each township of the state/region. The remaining 220 seats[28] (approximately 25% of each assembly) were not elected, and instead reserved for military appointees (taken from Tatmadaw personnel; officially known as "Defence Services Personnel Representatives").

Party Votes % Seats % +/–[a]
National League for Democracy 476 55.1 Increase474
Union Solidarity and Development Party 73 8.4 Decrease411
Shan Nationalities League for Democracy 25 2.9 Increase21
Arakan National Party 22 2.5 Increase4
Ta'ang National Party 7 0.8 Increase3
Pa-O National Organisation 6 0.7 Steady
Kachin State Democracy Party 3 0.3 Increase3
Lisu National Development Party 2 0.2 Increase2
Mon National Party 2 0.2 Increase2
Wa Democratic Party 2 0.2 Increase2
Zomi Congress for Democracy 2 0.2 Increase2
All Mon Region Democracy Party 1 0.1 Decrease7
Democratic Party 1 0.1 Decrease2
Kayin People's Party 1 0.1 Decrease1
Kokang Democracy and Unity Party 1 0.1 Increase1
Lahu National Development Party 1 0.1 Steady
Shan Nationalities Democratic Party 1 0.1 Decrease30
Tai-Leng Nationalities Development Party 1 0.1 Increase1
Unity and Democracy Party of Kachin State 1 0.1 Decrease1
Wa National Unity Party 1 0.1 Increase1
Independent 1 0.1 Decrease2
Others 0 0.0 Decrease27
Cancelled due to insurgency 14 1.6 Increase1
Military appointees 220 25.5 Steady
Total 100 864 100
Source: The Irrawaddy,[29][not in citation given] The Myanmar Times,[25] list of military appointees[28]

The list of military appointees was published as the UEC Announcement 3/2016.[30]

Ethnic Affairs Ministers[edit]

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

"Under the 2008 Constitution, ethnic affairs ministers are elected to a given state or division if that division is comprised of an ethnic minority population of 0.1 percent or greater of the total populace [roughly 51,400 people].[31] If one of the country's ethnic minorities counts a state as its namesake, however, it is not granted an ethnic affairs minister (e.g., there is no Mon ethnic affairs minister in Mon State). Only voters who share an ethnic identity with a given ethnic affairs minister post are allowed to vote for candidates to the position."[32] Ministers are not elected for ethnicities that are a majority of their state or region, or where a state/region already has a self-administered region or self-administered division dedicated to those ethnic groups.[31]

Party Votes % Seats % +/–[a]
National League for Democracy 21 72 Increase21
Union Solidarity and Development Party 2 7 Decrease9
Arakan National Party 1 3 Increase1
Akha National Development Party 1 3 Increase1
Lahu National Development Party 1 3 Increase1
Lisu National Development Party 1 3 Increase1
Tai-Leng Nationalities Development Party 1 3 Increase1
Independent 1 3 Steady
Shan Nationalities League for Democracy 0 0 Decrease1
Others 0 0 Decrease6
Total 100 29 100
Source: UEC[33]

Reactions[edit]

On 9 November 2015, former chairperson of the Union Solidarity and Development Party and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Shwe Mann, conceded defeat to the National League for Democracy's Than Nyunt in his hometown constituency of Phyu, announcing on his Facebook that he had 'personally congratulated' his opponent for the victory.[34]

On 9 November 2015, acting chairperson of the Union Solidarity and Development Party, Htay Oo, announced that the party had conceded defeat in a statement to Reuters.[35]

On 11 November 2015, chairperson of the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, called for 'national reconciliation' talks with incumbent president, Thein Sein, commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Shwe Mann to be set for a later date. All have accepted her invitation.[36]

On 12 November 2015, incumbent President of Myanmar, Thein Sein, who has led political reforms during his tenure, congratulated Aung San Suu Kyi and her party on his Facebook, promising that his current government will 'respect and obey' the election results and 'transfer power peacefully'. Commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, also took to his Facebook to congratulate Suu Kyi, vowing that the Tatmadaw will co-operate with the new government following the transition. This was after a meeting conducted within the Tatmadaw's top ranks.[37] US President Barack Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Suu Kyi on her victory and praised Thein Sein for his organisation of the election.[38] Suu Kyi also received calls from French President François Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.[39][40]

Political transition[edit]

Myanmar's recent political history is underlined by its struggle to establish democratic structures amidst conflicting fractions. This political transition from a closely held military rule to a free democratic system is widely believed to be determining the future of Myanmar. The resounding victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy in 2015 general elections has raised hope for a successful culmination of this transition.[41][42]

The recent murder of Ko Ni, a prominent Muslim lawyer and a key member of Myanmar’s governing National League for Democracy party is seen as a serious blow to the country’s fragile democracy. Mr. Ko Ni’s murder is feared to be depriving Aung San Suu Kyi of trusted adviser, particularly on reforming Myanmar’s military-drafted Constitution and ushering the country to democracy.[43]

Controversy[edit]

Controversy has been raised over such issues as inaccurate voter lists, cancellation of voting in some violent areas, vilification of Burmese Muslims as a campaign tool,[44] and the ineligibility to vote of the Muslim Rohingyas.[45] According to The Economist, "No matter how many millions of Burmese vote against the Union Solidarity and Development Party, which rules the country and is backed by the army, the army will remain the real power in Myanmar."[46]

There have been allegations of fraud in many townships where unknown ballots cast as advance votes boosted the results of the Union Solidarity Development Party. The Union Election Commission has defended these votes, stating that they had arrived before the polling booths closed, and thus they were legitimate votes. In Lashio, where the National League for Democracy was expected to win, there are allegations of voting fraud which pulled USDP candidate and incumbent vice-president Sai Mauk Kham forward by more than 4000 votes. The NLD, Shan Nationalities League for Democracy and Shan Nationalities Democratic Party have agreed to file a complaint with the Union Election Commission. The UEC responded by declaring that the victory of Sai Mauk Kham was legal and that no fraud had taken place.[47]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Net Gain/Loss numbers shown are compared with the results of the previous general election, not with the results of the by-elections in 2012.
  2. ^ Sum of the number of seats for election (644) and for the military (220)
  3. ^ EODS reported a total of 860.[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy Wins Majority in Myanmar". BBC News. 13 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Political parties gear up for 2015 election". Mizzima.com. 15 October 2013. Archived from the original on 28 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Suu Kyi's party says it will contest 2015 Myanmar election even if constitution is not amended". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "#MyanmarElections2015: UEC issues procedures for international observers". MyanmarBusinessNews.com. 4 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Official Confirms Burma By-Elections Due This Year". Irrawaddy.org. 21 March 2014. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Myanmar to Hold By-Elections at End of Year". Rfa.org. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
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  9. ^ Aung Hla Tun (7 September 2014). "Myanmar cancels by-elections". Yahoo!News. Reuters. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "By-elections cancelled". DVB News. 7 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
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  12. ^ "Myanmar's parliament blocks changes to constitution". US News & World Report. 
  13. ^ Suu Kyi 'will be above president' if NLD wins Myanmar election BBC News, 5 November 2015
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  15. ^ Campbell, Charlie (13 August 2015). "Burmese President Purges Party Chief". Time. 
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  27. ^ a b "European Union Election Observation Mission. Myanmar, General Elections, 2015. Preliminary Statement" (PDF). Election Observation and Democratic Support. 2015-11-10. Retrieved 2015-11-21. 
  28. ^ a b "တပ်မတော်သား တိုင်းဒေသကြီးလွှတ်တော် သို့မဟုတ် ပြည်နယ်လွှတ်တော်ကိုယ်စားလှယ် အမည်စာရင်း ကြေညာချက် အမှတ် (၃/၂၀၁၆)" [Announcement 3/2016: Defence Services Personnel Representatives for State or Regional Hluttaws] (Press release) (in Burmese). Union Election Commission. 19 January 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  29. ^ "That's a Wrap: UEC (Finally) Calls Last 11 Election Races". The Irrawaddy. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015. 
  30. ^ Union Election Commission (19 January 2016). "တပ်မတော်သား တိုင်းဒေသကြီးလွှတ်တော် သို့မဟုတ် ပြည်နယ်လွှတ်တော်ကိုယ်စားလှယ် အမည်စာရင်း ကြေညာချက် အမှတ် (၃/၂၀၁၆)" [Announcement 3/2016: Defence Services Personnel Representatives for State or Regional Hluttaws] (PDF). Myanmar Alin (in Burmese). Ministry of Information (Myanmar). pp. 9–10. Retrieved 11 March 2016. 
  31. ^ a b Myanmar 2015 General Elections Fact Sheet
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  37. ^ "Thein Sein congratulates NLD". 
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  40. ^ "Modi Calls up to Congratulate Suu Kyi on Myanmar Election Win". The Times of India. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
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  47. ^ "Lashio Voting".