Election 2020

Governments From Asia-Pacific and Beyond Congratulate NLD on Election Victory

By Nan Lwin 17 November 2020

YANGON—Leaders of countries around the region including India, Japan, China, Singapore and Thailand, and the embassies of the US and the UK are among those that have showered congratulations upon Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) for winning a landslide victory in the Nov. 8 election, and have committed to boosting their cooperation with the incoming government.

NLD candidates won 920 of 1,117 elected seats nationwide in the lower and upper houses of the Union Parliament, and the state and regional parliaments, as well as ethnic affairs minister posts, and easily has enough Union Parliament seats to form Myanmar’s next government.

Among the leaders offering official congratulations to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was the first. In his congratulatory message he promised that Japan would cooperate with the next administration and continue to fully support the building of a democratic nation.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi sent a separate message to his counterpart, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, offering congratulations on the successful holding of the election amid the COVID-19 crisis, and the victory of the NLD.

Japan is the largest provider of development of assistance to Myanmar and has been the fifth-largest investor under the NLD administration, from fiscal year 2016-2017 to 2020-2021.

The leader of Singapore, Myanmar’s largest investor, congratulated the country’s civilian leader four days after the election. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that “the results reflect the confidence and trust of the people of Myanmar in the NLD’s leadership and vision for the country.”

Lee said that Singapore and Myanmar are old friends and longstanding partners, with extensive cooperation in many areas such as trade and investment, financial and legal cooperation, infrastructure development, and capacity building. He stressed that Singapore is looking forward to working with the NLD government “to strengthen existing links and explore new areas of cooperation.”

The prime minister of India, Myanmar’s other giant neighbor, also congratulated Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for the successful conduct of the polls and the NLD’s victory.

Narendra Modi said the “successful conduct of [the] polls is another step in the ongoing democratic transition in Myanmar”, adding that he looked forward to boosting the countries’ traditional friendship.

Also offering felicitations was Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. In his congratulatory message on the NLD’s election victory he pledged his commitment to enhancing bilateral relations between the two natural strategic partners.

On Tuesday, the Chinese Embassy in Myanmar said Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday. In the statement, Xi, in his capacity as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, promised that China would work with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, particularly on promoting party-to-party and government-to-government relations.

Xi also expressed his desire to promote practical cooperation on the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), a part of Xi’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck also congratulated Myanmar’s leader on her party’s overwhelming victory and affirmed his conviction that she will be successful in bringing political and environment reform.

The US Embassy in Yangon sent a congratulatory message to the NLD on its win in the general election. Chargé d’Affaires Gwen Cardno said, “We look forward to working with the new government and the people of Myanmar as they work toward inclusive peace, prosperity and democracy.”

The UK Embassy also sent a message of congratulations to the State Counselor and the NLD on a resounding victory, saying the high turnout and enthusiasm for the elections highlighted what an important milestone the election was on Myanmar’s path to democracy.

In the message, British Ambassador Dan Chugg said the UK encouraged the NLD’s desire to work with ethnic parties to form a democratic federal union. He said the UK looked forward to supporting Myanmar’s aspirations for peace and full democracy.

Though the NLD secured more than enough seats to form the incoming government on its own, the party has extended an invitation to 48 ethnic political parties, calling on them to join the NLD in building a democratic federal union. The move indicates the NLD plans to form a national unity government in the hope that people from ethnic parties will take administrative roles in the next government.

The EU’s ambassador also congratulated the Myanmar people, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD on the election victory. Ranieri Sabatucci said the EU in Myanmar looked forward to working with the NLD government to promote a stronger relationship for peace and democracy and the fight against climate change.

The Russian Embassy also commended Myanmar for its successful holding of the general election, saying it was free, fair and peaceful.

The election on Nov. 8 was the second democratic vote since the end of military rule in 2011. The first was held in 2015. Despite cancellation of voting in some areas due to regional instability, local and international observers like the Carter Center reported that there were no major irregularities in the election.

Long-time Myanmar observer and journalist Bertil Lintner told The Irrawaddy that despite some hiccups, the polls were freer, more democratic and more inclusive than the US election, which was held five day ahead of Myanmar’s.

“There were severe shortcomings with voting being canceled in certain ethnic minority regions but, by and large, it was certainly freer, more democratic and more inclusive than the US election, where it’s not the majority of popular votes that counts, but a strange system with elections for an ‘electoral college’ which, in turn, decides who’ll become the next president. In 2016, Hillary Clinton got 3 million more votes than Trump, but still lost the election,” he said.

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