Election 2020

Election 2020: The Week in Review

By San Yamin Aung 14 November 2020

YANGON— ‘Election 2020: The Week in Review’ offers a summary of the most important developments related to the 2020 election during the past week — the stories readers should not miss if they want to understand the electoral landscape. This week, voting ended on Sunday, the NLD claimed a resounding election win, both local and international poll monitors offered positive assessments on election while USDP said the party will not accept the election results after faring even worse than it did in 2015.

NLD Confirmed New Landslide in Election

Monday (Nov. 9)

NLD supporters celebrate the party’s victory on Monday in Yangon. (Photo: Aung Kyaw Htet / The Irrawaddy)

The National League for Democracy said the party had already secured more than enough seats to form the next government, based on initial counts. The NLD needs at least 322 seats in the Union Parliament to select the president. Myanmar’s electoral body, the Union Election Commission (UEC), has yet to finalize the results.

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USDP Demands Election Rerun With Military Involvement

Wednesday (Nov. 11)

USDP chairman U Than Htay. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

Disputing its humiliating defeat at the polls on Sunday, Myanmar’s military proxy opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has demanded the country’s electoral body hold the election again in cooperation with the military. While the UEC has yet to finalize the results, preliminary vote counts show the USDP had managed to secure just 28 Union Parliament seats as of Thursday, even worse than of 41 seats it won in 2015.

“For a free, unbiased and disciplined vote, hold the election again in cooperation with the military,” an official from the USDP said at a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Yangon three days after the election.

USDP chair U Than Htay also said on Tuesday that the legitimacy of the outcome remained in dispute and that the party, which was formed by former generals, would mount a legal challenge to establish whether the election results were fair and lawful. He called on the party’s supporters to collect evidence of election fraud and submit it to the party.

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International and Local Election Observers Praised Sunday Vote

Voters show off their ink-stained pinkies after casting their ballots on Sunday. / Htet Wai / The Irrawaddy

The US election monitoring body the Carter Center and Myanmar’s largest local poll monitor PACE said the voting went smoothly with no major irregularities reported, in their preliminary findings on observations on election day.

The groups also highlighted the efforts of polling station officials and sub-commissions to open polling stations on time and to implement COVID-19 prevention measures.

The EU, UK, US Embassy in Myanmar commended Myanmar over Sunday’s general election, praising the high voter participation amid challenging circumstances created by the COVID-19 outbreak and saying they will continue to work with the next government to achieve full democracy.

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NLD Made Political Offer to Ethnic Parties

Thursday (Nov. 12)

State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the 70th anniversary Union Day celebration in Panglong, Shan State on Feb 12, 2017. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

For the first time since 2015, the NLD has made overtures to 48 ethnic political parties to join hands with the NLD in building a future democratic federal union. The overtures came in a letter to the parties after the NLD’s latest landslide in the election. Dr. Myo Nyunt, the NLD party’s spokesman, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday the party made “the political offer” and hopes that the ethnic parties would soon respond to the NLD.

Forty-eight ethnic political parties represent Kachin, Karen, Shan, Rakhine, Mon, Kayan, Lahu, Ta’ang (Palaung), Kaman, Khami, Mro, Dainet, Tai Leng, Chin, Danu, Zomi, Kokang, Dawei, Pao, Akha, Zo, Naga, Kayah, Lisu, Wa and Inn.

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High Participation of Voters Noted

Sunday (Nov.8)

Voters wait to cast their ballots in Yangon on Sunday. / Htet Wai / The Irrawaddy

Despite a surge of coronavirus cases and bomb scares ahead of the election, Myanmar voters flocked to polling stations to cast their ballots on Sunday. Defying predictions by some international observers and analysts of a low turnout due to COVID-19, long queues of people formed outside polling stations both in urban and remote areas even before the opening of the polling stations at 6 a.m. with voters wearing face masks and practicing social-distancing in most places.

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Military Chief Agrees to Accept Election Result 

Sunday (Nov. 8)

Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing cast his ballots in Naypyitaw’s Zabuthiri Township on Sunday. / Thiha Lwin / The Irrawaddy

Amid concerns over a possible coup due to his attack on the government before the election, military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said he will accept the outcome of Sunday’s nationwide poll.

“I will accept an election result that reflects the people’s will,” Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing told reporters on Sunday, after casting his ballots in Naypyitaw’s Zabuthiri Township. He added that he voted for the party that could work together with the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s military, and protect ethnic identity and religion.

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More election-related stories:

Myanmar Votes for a Continued Peaceful Transition

Voters wait to cast their ballots in Yangon on Sunday. / Htet Wai / The Irrawaddy

Bucking pundits’ forcasts and shrugging off the military’s warnings, Myanmar voters gave the NLD an overwhelming mandate to advance the country’s democratic transition.

Myanmar’s 2020 General Election Results in Numbers

Vote counting in progress at a polling station in Yangon on Sunday afternoon. / Htet Wai / The Irrawaddy

The Irrawaddy breaks down the key results and statistics from Sunday’s election in four infographics.

In Myanmar, the NLD’s Main Rival Finds It Hard to Accept Electoral Defeat

USDP supporters on the campaign trail in Naypyitaw in October. / Thiha Lwin / The Irrawaddy

Unable to grasp the enormity of its defeat, the USDP has alleged Sunday’s election was marred by fraud, but most in Myanmar view the claim as little more than a joke.

Myanmar’s Defeated Candidates Reveal Their Plans

Numerous candidates have been crushed by another National League for Democracy landslide. They tell The Irrawaddy what comes next.

Local Ethnic Party Beats Ruling NLD in Rakhine State in General Election

Arakan National Party supporters march in Gwa Township, southern Rakhine State in late October. / Khin Saw Wai / Facebook

Despite cancellation of voting in nine northern townships, the ANP handed a setback to the National League for Democracy.

NLD Performs Strongly in Kachin State, Dashing Ethnic Party’s Hopes

NLD supporters in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, gather to celebrate the NLD’s apparent victory on election day on Sunday. / Myitkyina Journal

The Kachin State People’s Party has failed to loosen the NLD’s grip in the local and Union parliaments, while the USDP gained ground in the state legislature.

Sweeping All Seats, Suu Kyi’s NLD Beats Rival USDP in Mandalay Region

NLD supporters celebrate the party’s victory in Mandalay. Zaw Zaw / The Irrawaddy

The winning seats include those the NLD lost to the military-proxy party in the previous election in 2015.

NLD Wins in Kayah State, But Loses Ground to Ethnic Party

NLD supporters in Kayah State / NLD-Kayah / Facebook

The Kayah State Democratic Party fell short of its goal of winning a majority in Sunday’s election, but won eight races and took some seats away from the ruling NLD.

NLD Set to Sweep All Seats in Ayeyarwady Region, Initial Voting Results Show

NLD supporters attend a rally in Ayeyarwady. / The Irrawaddy

Unofficial results show that Myanmar’s ruling party has won all the seats in Ayeyarwady Region with the exception of the region’s two ethnic affairs minister seats.

NLD Leads in Mon State but With Some Losses to Local Mon Party

An NLD campaign event in Mon State / National League for Democracy Mon State

The local Mon Unity Party expects to win at least 15 seats across the state.

NLD Set to Sweep Capital Except for Military-Dominated Zeyarthiri Township

The National League for Democracy district office in Zabuthiri Township, Naypyitaw. / Thiha Lwin / The Irrawaddy

The NLD was on course to win every seat in the capital in Myanmar’s general election except for Zeyarthiri Township, where USDP chairman U Than Htay looked to be the winner.

You may also like these stories:

NLD Reaches Out to Myanmar’s Ethnic Parties Seeking Federal Union and an End to Civil War

Military-Backed USDP Leaders Defeated by NLD in Myanmar Election

Myanmar Opposition Party Demands Election Rerun With Military Involvement

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