Thursday, 17 June, 2021


Myanmar ruling party wins majority in general elections

The USDP holds a press conference at its office on Thanlwin road in Yangon on November 11 The USDP holds a press conference at its office on Thanlwin road in Yangon on November 11
Bennie Garza | 14 November, 2020, 20:55

In an electoral system skewed toward the military-backed opposition party, the NLD needed to win nearly 68 percent of the seats being contested to retain the majority.

Ms Suu Kyi has faced condemnation from many in the worldwide community, who accuse her of turning a blind eye to violent atrocities against the minority Rohingya population.

Myanmar has seen insurgencies by various autonomy-seeking guerrilla forces since shortly after its independence from Britain in 1948, and Suu Kyi's government has been trying to conclude peace efforts though progress has been patchy and violence has flared in some areas.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya fled an army crackdown - described by the United Nations as ethnic cleansing - in 2017.

The Democracy and Human Rights Party, a Rohingya party, said it was "utterly disappointed" that its people had been disenfranchised.

The latest batch of results released on Friday from Sunday's vote confirmed Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) had secured the 322 seats in the bicameral legislature needed to form a government.

But the opposition, backed by Myanmar's powerful army, accused the government of irregularities, though it offered little evidence.

The military-backed main opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party has so far secured a meager 25 seats, according to the commission.

Global and domestic observers said the vote went smoothly and without major irregularities, although some condemned what they described as the election commission's lack of transparency and its cancellation of the polls across many ethnic minority areas - ostensibly for security reasons.

In the run up to the elections, the army had also said early voting showed "errors of neglect" in voter lists and a "widespread violation of laws and procedures".

In an indignant press conference on Wednesday, the USDP alleged massive irregularities and demanded the election be held again with help from the military.

The UEC has announced 30 percent of the election results on Wednesday and the rest will be completed within one week.

Observers had questioned the credibility of the election because of the disenfranchisement of virtually all the Rohingya.

The Tatmadaw even made what looked like a tentative overture to the Arakan Army, an ethnic Rakhine armed group with which it remains locked in fierce battle, in Rakhine state.

It also cancelled the election in parts of other conflict-hit states, including Shan and Kachin, saying that some areas were "not in a position to hold a free and fair election".

How do elections work in Myanmar?

More than 6,900 candidates from 92 political parties and independent campaigns stood for election in 1,171 seats, according to the US-based Carter Centre. A quarter of seats are reserved for the military under the constitution.

The election body was criticised before the vote, including by the military commander-in-chief, senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who said there were "unacceptable mistakes", underlining tension between the government and the military, which controls several key ministries.

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