Burma Sets Date for First Free Election in 25 Years

 | Thu 9 Jul 2015 04:14 ICT

CityNews – Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) on Wednesday announced that the country will hold its first free general election in 25 years, with polls opening on November 8.


The information was confirmed by the director general of the UEC, Tin Tun, in an interview held soon after the announcement.

This election is part of the ongoing reform of the country, after a military-backed civilian government took office in 2010.

Burma had previously been ruled for over six decades by a military junta.

The current leading party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), is expected to face a tight contest against Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), along with dozens of other smaller parties, all now gearing up for the election.


Unlike the last general election in 2010 which was boycotted by the NLD because Aung San Suu Kyi was barred from standing, this election is expected to have the support from all parties, after the NLD told the media they are currently preparing an election manifesto and selecting candidates.

The last election that the NLD took part in was in 1990, where they won. However, at that time, the military ruling junta ignored the results.

The election is expected to have over eighty parties contest the polls for the 664 seats, a quarter of which are reserved for the unelected military.

If the NLD were to win a majority again, Aung San Suu Kyi would be unable to stand as president as under current laws, the fact that her late husband was British and her two sons are British citizens prevents her from taking presidency.

However, full democracy is yet achievable after the parliament voted to keep the military veto over any constitutional change, two weeks ago.

It is yet unclear whether the many marganilised ethnic minorities, such as the Rohingya, within Myanmar will be able to vote in the election. Many ethnic people hold ‘white cards’, provided in 1990 as a temporary document pending citizenship. However, official citizenship has yet to be granted, but holders of a ‘white card’ were allowed to vote in both the 2008 constitutional referendum and 2010 election.