Come November 2020 flags will fly, rallies will fill the streets as election fever hit’s Myanmar and this is your guide.
From downtown Yangon into the hills of Rakhine the Union Election Commission will send Electoral Officers through civil wars and wild tigers; trekking, by boat, dirty road, motorbike or foot into isolated mountainous outposts to guarantee free and fair elections.
Who is voting for what in Myanmar’s Election?
All Myanmar citizens, over 18, bar Monks, Bankrupts and prisoners will vote for candidates running for the national Union Government and the State or Region (Divisions).
The election will cover two levels of Government The centralized Union or national government and the State and Region assemblies.
The Union government functions with two houses, that are designed based on the Westminster system.
The upper house, ‘Amyotha Hluttaw’, has 168 elected seats, while the lower house, ‘Pyithu Hluttaw’, has 330.
In a quirk of Myanmar politics, the 2008 constitution enshrined that 25% of seats in the State/Region and Union governments be allocated to the Military.
Each State and Regional, ‘Hluttaw’, assembly has similar powers.
What distinguishes a region known as a State is generally, they are home to Ethnic minorities other than the Bamar.
Who Has Control of The Current Myanmar Government?
The National League for Democracy led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, took control of the government in 2015.
Holding 135 of the 168 (80%) of elected seats in the upper and 255 of 330 (77%) of elected seats in the lower house the NLD has a commanding majority.
The Union Solidarity and Development Party which formed out of the Military and still retain strong links, is the largest opposition party in the Union. Holding 11 of the 168 (7%) elected seats in the Upper and 30 seats (9%) in the Lower House.
The 2015 result came as a major disappointment to the party.
In 2010 Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD boycotted the election opening the path for the USDP taking a firm grip on government with 75% of elected seats.
The remaining seats in the upper and lower houses are shared predominantly by Ethnic Minority Parties, drawing support from within their states.
The Arakan National Party (ANP) holds the largest of the blocks with a power base in the Rakhine State.
Moving towards the election there has been growing interest in what happens with the merging of ethnic parties, including the new Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD) and the Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP) who have formed from an amalgamation of ethnic political parties. They estimate that 130 seats will be contested.
With the Myanmar election called, just five days after the US, oh November, it’s going to be quite a month.