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)
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.
USDP Demands Election Rerun With Military Involvement
Wednesday (Nov. 11)
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.
International and Local Election Observers Praised Sunday Vote
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.
NLD Made Political Offer to Ethnic Parties
Thursday (Nov. 12)
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.
High Participation of Voters Noted
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.
Military Chief Agrees to Accept Election Result
Sunday (Nov. 8)
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.
More election-related stories:
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.
The Irrawaddy breaks down the key results and statistics from Sunday’s election in four infographics.
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.
Numerous candidates have been crushed by another National League for Democracy landslide. They tell The Irrawaddy what comes next.
Despite cancellation of voting in nine northern townships, the ANP handed a setback to the National League for Democracy.
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.
The winning seats include those the NLD lost to the military-proxy party in the previous election in 2015.
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.
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.
The local Mon Unity Party expects to win at least 15 seats across the state.
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.
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