KitoOnlus Blog

Myanmar’s elections

Myanmar is waiting for definitive poll results, even though Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party (NLD) has amazed the whole world by pulling off amazing achievements. In fact, as the leader declared during her first post-election interview to BBC, it seems that 75% of the seats should have been won by NLD. However, official results will not be delivered before the weekend, as the scrutiny is proceeding slowly. For now, we join several other international organisms in congratulating the country for the fact that the elections have been held in a peaceful, free and fair manner.

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People celebrating the outcome of Myanmar’s elections

This is one of the greatest achievements in modern Myanmar’s history, which in this occasion is witnessing what are defined as the most democratic elections over the last decades. For now, the Electoral Commission has officialised the results of about 30% of the total seats, and it has been confirmed that Aung San Suu Kyi has won in her polling station, and will therefore be elected in Parliament.

The European Union’s electoral mission was the biggest among the ones that were present in the country – such as the Carter Institute’s mission. Yesterday, the EU’s mission representatives held a press conference where legitimacy and transparency of the electoral process has been confirmed.

One big issue that the new government will have to face is the strong multi-ethnical component of Myanmar, resulting into tensions between the muslim and christian minorities and the buddhist majority.

In this context, the person to look up to is Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of General Aung San, a Myanmar’s independence hero, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 due to her devoted commitment in bringing democracy and peace in her country. Because of her loyalty to the cause, she spent almost 20 years under house-arrest, but she has fought for her ideals until now, the day from which hopefully another era of Myanmar’s history begins. However, contrarily to what is believed, Aung San Suu Kyi will not take the lead as Prime Minister: there is a condition in the Constitution of the country that prevents her from accepting the role, since she has been married with a foreigner and has children that hold a different citizenship that Myanmar’s. This specific condition can be changed only with the approval of at least 75% of Parliament’s members, which is a dreamy percentage to reach without the support of the military. In fact, the army remains a pillar of Myanmar’s government, since it is represented by a legally guaranteed set of parliamentary seats.

Nevertheless, Aung San Suu Kyi – or Amay Suu (Mother Suu), as she is called in Yangon – is a beloved and well-respected figure in Myanmar. People do hope for a change and they do believe in the principle of “democracy”. For two full days the city of Yangon has been the stage of a feast of red flags and NLD symbols: not even the heavy rains has been able to stop people from gathering in front of the Party’s headquarters to follow the scrutiny of the ballot.

The path towards changes might remain long, but today we can all hope for a brighter future.