Election Universe

Historic vote in Burma

Historic vote in Burma
November 25 2015, 14:00

On November 8th the citizens of Burma headed to the polls in order to cast their votes in the first elections since 1990 when the military government recognise the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. Now, 25 years later, voters have participated en masse with an estimated turnout of 80% of the over 30 million people registered to vote.

Constituencies for this election are as follows: 330 Lower House (House of Representatives) constituencies, 168 for the Upper House (House of Nationalities), 644 for regional or state parliaments (Hluttaws) and 29 for regional or state parliaments for ethnic minorities. The National League for Democracy (NLD) was the winner taking 329 of the 664 contested seats in both houses which gave it the majority.

In accordance with the 2008 constitution, the military will hold 25% of the seats with unelected officials. Any law reforms need the military approval and they have veto power over legislation. The election of the president will likely be in March 2016; through an indirect process where members of both houses and the military will each put forward a candidate and then proceed to vote. Whoever wins becomes president and the other two become vice-presidents. However, the leader of the NLD Aung San Suu Kyi is ineligible to be president since both her husband and her children are foreign citizens.

International observers have noted a number of irregularities within the election. However, analysts agree that elections were mostly fair, especially when taking into consideration the importance of this process. The reactions have been mostly positive since the event represents a milestone for achieving democracy in the country. Personalities such as Barack Obama, François Hollande and David Cameron have praised the process. Results were announced a week after the voting and all parties have accepted the results.

Sources: BBC, HRW, Wikipedia

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Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net