What do the initial results indicate?
The full official results of Myanmar’s 8 November general elections have yet to be announced, but it is already clear that, as expected, the National League for Democracy (NLD) has scored another landslide victory. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party has not only won virtually every seat in the central Burman Buddhist heartland, which constitutes its traditional stronghold, but also increased its haul of seats in many ethnic minority areas. The main national opposition party, the military-established Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), suffered an even more humiliating defeat than in 2015. The ethnic minority parties had mixed success in various states, but they fell far short of their aim of becoming kingmakers in the new parliament.… Seguir leyendo »
What a difference five years can make. In 2015, many of my fellow Rohingya people cheered as the party of the famed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory in Myanmar’s first democratic elections of the 21st century, bringing an end to decades of outright military rule. Euphoria reigned. We hoped not only for a new beginning for the country, but also for an end to the oppression against us.
Today, as Myanmar gears up for another general election on Nov. 8, the situation is starkly different. Three years ago, Aung San Suu Kyi, now the country’s de facto head of state, stood by as military leaders launched a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign that killed thousands of Rohingya and drove more than 700,000 across the border into Bangladesh, where they now languish in immense refugee camps.… Seguir leyendo »
Aung San Suu Kyi is no longer sitting in her lakeside home in Yangon, waiting for her restoration. It has finally arrived. The woman who endured house arrest for the better part of 20 years heads the party that won a landslide election victory this month over the very generals who held her captive. In her office here, she spoke with The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth about launching a democracy, ending ethnic violence and sharing power with the military.
Were you surprised by your landslide?
No, not surprised. We knew we had the support of the public, but we were worried there might be too many irregularities.… Seguir leyendo »
Myanmar's people have voted overwhelmingly for change. It may have been a simple message -- some would say simplistic, given the deep problems the country faces -- but the campaign slogan of the National League for Democracy, "time for change," resonated powerfully in a country still emerging from five decades of authoritarian rule.
Party leader Aung San Suu Kyi perfectly embodied that message, given her many years of steely opposition to military rule and her family history, particularly that of her father the late independence hero Gen. Aung San. Indeed, there is an almost millenarian conviction among many in Myanmar that only she can lead them to a brighter future.… Seguir leyendo »
After more than 50 years of military-backed government, the people of Myanmar said this past Sunday they have had enough.
Voters provided what appears to be a landslide victory to long-time opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
While returns will likely trickle in for another several days, the NLD is on track to win as many as two-thirds of the seats in the upper and lower houses of parliament.
But those asking when the inauguration day will be for "Amay Suu" (Mother Suu) are jumping the gun.
This election victory is best seen as the start of a negotiation process between people power and the entrenched, constitutionally guaranteed power of the Tatmadaw, Myanmar's much-feared army.… Seguir leyendo »
Les partisans de « La Dame » jubilent. Au fil des heures, des figures emblématiques de l’ancien régime militaire, dissous en 2011, reconnaissent leur défaite électorale face aux candidats de la Ligue Nationale pour la Démocratie (LND). Parmi eux, Thura Shwe Mann, actuel président de la chambre basse du parlement, et Htay Oo, un ancien ministre de la junte.
Toutefois, malgré un scrutin qui fut certainement le plus libre que la Birmanie ait connu depuis 1960, l’intervention politique des militaires reste ancrée dans les institutions du pays et demeurera un élément clé de sa future gouvernance, quels que soient les résultats électoraux à venir.… Seguir leyendo »
By any estimate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy — a long-suffering movement of civilians fighting for their rights against a relentless junta — should have died years ago. And yet, a quarter century after a landslide electoral victory the party was never allowed to assert, it is the undisputed favorite in Sunday’s general election, expected to wrest a popular mandate from the Union Solidarity and Development Party of President Thein Sein, the former military government’s unavowed successor.
Supporters perched on tamarind trees and rooftops to fly the N.L.D.’s red flag, or flocked by the thousands to catch a glimpse of Ms.… Seguir leyendo »
Myanmar will go to the polls on Nov. 8 in what will be a landmark election. The main opposition National League for Democracy party will be contesting nationally for the first time in a generation. And if all goes as expected, next year Myanmar will see its first democratic transfer of power since 1960.
Many people worry that history may repeat itself. However, the context is very different from 1990, when the NLD won in a landslide but the then-military regime, which had taken power in a coup two years earlier, failed to respect the results. And it is very different from 2010, when the NLD boycotted the elections and the establishment Union Solidarity and Development Party secured its own landslide, partly through manipulation of advance votes.… Seguir leyendo »
The world is watching Myanmar as election day nears. The governments of the United States and other countries, which view this contest as a potential watershed for democracy, hope that Sunday’s voting will be “inclusive and credible.” But with just days to go, the election is shaping up to be just the opposite.
A central issue has been the deliberate exclusion of Myanmar’s Muslim minority, including my people, the Rohingya. Like other ethnic and religious minorities in Myanmar, the country’s Rohingya — estimated to number over one million — suffered under years of repressive military rule. Today the pseudo-democratic government continues to treat us as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even though our people have been in Myanmar for centuries.… Seguir leyendo »
Campaigning formally started on Tuesday for Myanmar’s first general election since the end of direct military rule, but don’t be fooled by the display of colorful logos and slogans from various political parties: The army is back in force.
Military apparatchiks in the nominally democratic government have refused to amend the Constitution to allow the opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to run for the presidency. Last month, Thura Shwe Mann — a rival of President Thein Sein, a high-ranking general in the previous military government — was forcibly removed from his position as chairman of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (U.S.D.P.).… Seguir leyendo »
The next general election, scheduled for late this year, is not shaping up to be the benchmark of democratic consolidation that many Myanmar observers had hoped. The government, which is still largely controlled by senior military officers, has failed to strike a power-sharing agreement with either the mainstream opposition or ethnic armed resistance groups. Not only does this endanger the legitimacy of the election, it also exposes a dangerous leadership vacuum within both the government and the opposition.
In 2011, the junta that had ruled the country for over two decades undertook vast reforms. The 2008 military-drafted Constitution remained, and the new president, Thein Sein, was a high-ranking general.… Seguir leyendo »
I have dreamed for many years of seeing Aung San Suu Kyi elected to parliament and watching thousands of people celebrating in the streets. Yet, while the scenes made me happy, I also felt a strange emptiness inside.
We always expected that Aung San Suu Kyi being allowed to take a seat in parliament would be a final step on the road to democracy. Instead, it is only the first. Aung San Suu Kyi is even more cautious. Asked last week how democratic Burma was on a scale of one to 10, she answered "on the way to one".
Too much importance has been attached to these byelections, whose significance is more symbolic than practical.… Seguir leyendo »
Si Aung San Suu Kyi resulta elegida al Parlamento de Birmania tras las elecciones del domingo, será inevitable que el mundo se pregunte: ¿ha encontrado por fin la Nelson Mandela de Asia a su F. W. de Klerk? O, si prefieren una comparación europea, ¿ha encontrado la Václav Havel asiática a su Mijail Gorbachov? ¿Vamos a empezar el tercer episodio de la saga “de prisionera a presidenta”? Estoy convencido de que un día llegará a la presidencia, pero no nos hagamos ilusiones: todavía quedan grandes obstáculos que vencer. Y para superarlos será necesario dar muestras de prudencia y fortaleza, dentro y fuera de Birmania.… Seguir leyendo »
AFTER five decades of brutal authoritarian rule, Myanmar’s military leaders have, in recent months, legalized labor unions, increased press freedom and released political dissidents. The opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest until November 2010, is now running in the coming by-elections.
Yet those reforms are bound to fail and could plunge the country back into violence unless the government addresses important ethnic divisions. Myanmar, formerly Burma, is potentially explosive because its many ethnic groups are concentrated in their own regions — a situation ripe for bloody secessions.
In recent weeks, the military signed a truce with the Shan ethnic group and ordered a cessation of operations against the Karen group in the southeast. … Seguir leyendo »
Parliamentary by-elections on Sunday will mark a first, critical step in the transition from authoritarianism for an opposition that has suffered more than 20 years of prison, harassment, exile and the brutality of successive military rulers.
At best, the National League for Democracy — the party of the country’s most famous dissident, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi — will win less than a tenth of parliamentary seats in the Southeast Asian nation (renamed Myanmar by the military government). Only 45 constituencies out of 659 are up for election, to fill seats vacated by legislators when they take positions in the government.… Seguir leyendo »
If Aung San Suu Kyi is elected to Burma's parliament this Sunday, the world will inevitably ask: has Asia's Nelson Mandela finally met her President FW de Klerk? Or, if you prefer a European comparison, has Asia's Václav Havel met her Mikhail Gorbachev? Cue episode three in the "from prisoner to president" saga. I do believe that day will come, but let us have no illusions: there are still major obstacles ahead. Wisdom and strength, inside and outside Burma, will be needed to surmount them.
Whatever happens, Aung San Suu Kyi has long since earned the Havel and Mandela comparisons. Like Mandela, she has endured decades of imprisonment, emerging with an extraordinary lack of rancour.… Seguir leyendo »
I remember that day. It was 27 May 1990. I was too young to vote, but I spent all day in front of a primary school turned polling station just a few doors down the street. In the afternoon, my father took us to the headquarters of National League for Democracy (NLD). I made sure I wore the NLD uniform, orange pinni jacket my grandmother sewed for me. I remember the euphoria and excitement on the streets. Turnout was high, at 73%. People were jubilant with the prospect of finally seeing a new dawn for democracy. But they were betrayed.
Fast-forward 20 years.… Seguir leyendo »
Next Sunday, 7 November, had the potential to be a truly great day. The first Burmese elections since 1990 should have seen grassroots and civilian candidates compete in free elections, as 60 million citizens finally threw off a brutal military dictatorship in front of international observers and the global media.
Instead next weekend's poll will be a masquerade. Aung San Suu Kyi – the one person who in half a century has been democratically elected in Burma – has been prevented from standing for re-election on the specious grounds that her late husband was not Burmese, and her party, the National League for Democracy, has been forcibly dissolved.… Seguir leyendo »
In May I finally experienced a free and fair election. Unfortunately, I was thousands of miles from my homeland – Burma. I witnessed the UK's May elections as a refugee in the country.
Next month, there will be elections in Burma and the eyes of the world will briefly turn upon the country. But these elections will be neither free nor fair. The polls are a masquerade designed solely to appease global opinion. The only winners will be the corrupt and brutal elite who rule the country. Dictatorship will continue.
Yet, the mere fact that elections are taking place offers a glimmer of hope.… Seguir leyendo »
We are now a month away from the first elections in Burma in 23 years. That should give us cause to celebrate. Sadly, that is wishful thinking. Burma’s 55 million people continue to suffer brutal oppression. Abject, needless poverty is, for most, a daily reality. These elections will be little more than a sham to perpetuate military rule.
So when Asian and European leaders meet on Monday in Brussels, the U.K. will be calling for us to speak with one voice against the gross mistreatment of the Burmese people.
That means being unequivocal: These elections will be neither free nor fair.… Seguir leyendo »