YANGON—Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) has fixed Nov. 8 as the date for the general election, which will be the first held under a civilian government in six decades.
The last time Myanmar (then known as Burma) had a poll supervised by a civilian government was in 1960. The quasi-civilian government led by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which governed the country from 2011 to 2015, held the last general election on Nov. 8, 2015.
After announcing the election date on Wednesday, the UEC said potential candidates for the election would be invited to submit their registrations to the commission from July 20 to Aug. 7. The commission will scrutinize the parliamentary hopefuls’ submissions from Aug. 11 to 17 to determine whether they meet the qualifications to serve as elected representatives.
Myanmar currently has 94 registered political parties. They will vie for a total of 1,171 seats that are up for grabs in both Houses of the Union Parliament and in the state and regional legislatures.
President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, both of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD), will also contest the nationwide poll. The NLD took office in 2016 after beating the then-ruling USDP, formed by ex-generals, in an electoral landslide in 2015. The current NLD-led government’s tenure ends on March 31.
Constitutionally, those serving in the executive branch of the Union government are barred from engaging in party activities. The UEC announced on Wednesday that Union-level ministers and deputy ministers could resume engaging in party activities from July 1 if they are running in the election, citing the Constitution’s Article 38(a), which states that every citizen shall have the right to elect and be elected.
A constitutional provision barring Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming President remains in place, after a parliamentary push by the NLD and ethnic parties to amend the charter failed in March in the face of opposition from military-appointed lawmakers and their allies in the USDP.
The UEC said on Wednesday it would announce the dates of the election campaign period after the candidacy screening is complete. In the 2015 general election, the campaign period was set for 60 days ahead of the election.
According to the UEC, over 37 million people in Myanmar will be eligible to vote. The voter list doesn’t yet include soldiers and their families.
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