Channel News Asia: “Myanmar polls on Nov 8: An election of many firsts”

YANGON: Myanmar citizens head to the polls on Nov 8, in the country’s first general election after a nominally civilian government came to power in 2011, departing from decades of military rule.

This election will see many firsts, from the unprecedented number of more than 6,000 participating candidates, to the 93 political parties involved. The candidates are vying for 1,142 seats in the national, regional and state parliament. Under the Constitution, the military automatically occupies 25 per cent of seats.

Nyantha Maw Lin, managing director (Myanmar) of Vriens & Partners, noted: “The nature of Myanmar’s relations with the international community has been very much defined by its politics, and the elections that are coming up will be a key milestone in reshaping that image, in reshaping Myanmar’s role in the region.”

But citizens will vote for their next government, not their president. The decision falls on elected parliamentarians of the lower and upper houses, and unelected military representatives. Each group nominates one of three candidates – the one with the most votes becomes head of state, while the other two are vice-presidents.

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