2010 Myanmar general election
General elections were held in Myanmar on 7 November 2010, in accordance with the new constitution, which was approved in a referendum held in May 2008. The election date was announced by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) on 13 August.
330 of the 440 seats in the House of Representatives
221 seats needed for a majority
168 of the 224 seats in the House of Nationalities
113 seats needed for a majority
The elections were the fifth step of the seven-step "roadmap to democracy" proposed by the SPDC in 2003, the sixth and seventh steps being the convening of elected representatives and the building of a modern, democratic nation, respectively. However, the National League for Democracy boycotted the elections. The result was a sweeping victory for the Union Solidarity and Development Party, which won nearly 80% of seats contested across the upper and lower houses. The United Nations expressed concern about the fairness of the elections, and western countries dismissed them as fraudulent.
Due to the strict separation of powers in the constitution, members elected to the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw were automatically disqualified from their seats if they accepted appointment to an executive or judicial body. As a result, many elected members elected were quickly disqualified from their seats after accepting appointment to bodies such as the Cabinet of Myanmar. By-elections to fill 48 vacancies left by such appointments as well as by resignations and deaths were held in April 2012.
Article 59F of the new constitution bans from the Presidency people who have a spouse or children who are foreign citizens. Some commentators claim that this means Aung San Suu Kyi will be unable to contest the election, The United Nations, members of ASEAN and Western nations have insisted that the elections will not be credible without the participation of Suu Kyi.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) had set a number of conditions for participating in the poll, including changes to the constitution to reduce the army's influence, international supervision for free and fair polls, and freeing all political prisoners including Suu Kyi. Senior General Than Shwe, leader of the ruling military junta, has pledged to release political prisoners in an amnesty before the election, though he has not stated when this would occur. On 11 August 2009, Suu Kyi was sentenced to imprisonment for three years with hard labour over a trespass incident. This sentence was commuted by the military rulers to further house arrest of eighteen months. The NLD later announced they would not take part in the election due to the election laws.
Key ministries including justice, defence and the interior will remain under the control of the military and under the 2008 constitution, a quarter of the 440 parliament seats will be reserved for the military officials. People holding military positions are not permitted to contest the election; as such, 20 members of the junta, including Prime Minister Thein Sein, retired from their posts to participate in the election.
New election lawsEdit
The first of five election laws was announced in March 2010, concerning the creation of an election commission. The Union Election Commission Law states that the military government will appoint all members of the commission and have the final say over the election results. Members of the commission must be "an eminent person, to have integrity and experience, to be loyal to the state and its citizens". A 17-member election commission was later named, headed by a former military officer.
The second law bans anyone currently serving a prison term from belonging to a political party, and therefore over 2,000 political prisoners will not be able to participate, possibly including Aung San Suu Kyi (depending on whether her house arrest is deemed to fall under the definition of "serving a prison term"). The Political Parties Registration Law also bars members of religious orders, members of insurgent groups 'as defined by the state' and foreigners from joining political parties. This separation of Buddhism and politics is a long-standing feature of Myanmar politics, dating back to before independence, and was incorporated in the 1947 independence Constitution at the request of the monkhood.
The other laws stipulate that anyone currently serving a prison term is barred from running or voting in the elections for the upper and lower houses. A 224-member House of Nationalities will have 168 elected candidates and 56 nominated by the military chief, while the 440-member House of Representatives will have 330 elected civilians and 110 military representatives. At the same time, the results of the 1990 elections were annulled as they did not comply with the new election laws.
House of NationalitiesEdit
168 of the 224 seats in the Amyotha Hluttaw (House of Nationalities) were up for election. The remaining 56 seats (25%) were not elected, and instead reserved for military appointees (taken from Tatmadaw personnel; officially known as "Army Representatives").
|Union Solidarity and Development Party||11,156,442||50.07||129||57.59|
|National Unity Party||4,302,082||19.31||5||2.23|
|National Democratic Force||1,488,543||6.68||4||1.79|
|Shan Nationalities Democratic Party||496,039||2.23||3||1.33|
|Rakhine Nationalities Development Party||263,678||1.18||7||3.13|
|All Mon Region Democracy Party||172,806||0.78||4||1.79|
|Chin Progressive Party||86,211||0.39||4||1.79|
|Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party||77,825||0.35||3||1.33|
|Chin National Party||37,450||0.17||2||0.89|
|Pa-O National Organization||4,202,389||18.86||1||0.45|
|Kayin People's Party||1||0.45|
|Ta'ang National Party||1||0.45|
|Wa Democratic Party||1||0.45|
|Unity and Democracy Party of Kachin State||1||0.45|
|Kayin State Democracy and Development Party||1||0.45|
House of RepresentativesEdit
325 of the 440 seats in the Pyithu Hluttaw (House of Representatives) were up for election after 5 seats in Shan State were cancelled. The remaining 110 seats (25%) were not elected, and instead reserved for military appointees (taken from Tatmadaw personnel; officially known as "Army Representatives").
|Union Solidarity and Development Party||11,858,125||56.76||259||58.86|
|National Unity Party||4,060,802||19.44||12||2.73|
|National Democratic Force||1,483,329||7.10||8||1.82|
|Rakhine Nationalities Development Party||599,008||2.87||9||2.05|
|Shan Nationalities Democratic Party||508,780||2.44||18||4.09|
|All Mon Region Democracy Party||167,928||0.80||3||0.68|
|Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party||82,038||0.39||2||0.45|
|Chin Progressive Party||76,463||0.36||2||0.45|
|Kayin People's Party||70,705||0.34||1||0.23|
|Inn National Development Party||52,195||0.25||1||0.23|
|Ta'ang National Party||46,652||0.22||1||0.23|
|Chin National Party||36,098||0.17||2||0.45|
|Wa Democratic Party||27,546||0.13||2||0.45|
|Unity and Democracy Party of Kachin State||11,170||0.05||1||0.23|
|Other parties and independents||1,811,868||8.68||1||0.23|
|Pa-O National Organisation||–||–||3||0.68|
|Source: Adam Carr|
Parties are required to have at least 1,000 members to participate in the election and had to register by 6 June. 40 parties have been approved by the Electoral Commission to contest the elections, some of which are linked to ethnic minorities.
The National League for Democracy, which overwhelmingly won the previous 1990 elections but were never allowed to take power, decided not to participate. Nonetheless, some senior members have formed the National Democratic Force to contest the elections, claiming that a boycott would play into the hands of the government.
The government has established the Union Solidarity and Development Party, the successor to the mass organisation Union Solidarity and Development Association, which claims to have around half the population as members. The National Unity Party, which contested the 1990 election as the main pro-government party and won 10 seats, has also registered to run. Reuters estimates that six parties in total are allied to the government.
The new Democratic Party, established by Mya Than Than Nu, the daughter of former Prime Minister of Myanmar, U Nu and Nay Ye Ba Swe, the daughter of former Prime Minister Ba Swe, is aiming to take part in the election. Mya Than Than Nu will run as General Secretary of the party. Media coverage of the party has been banned by the military government.
Another new party is being formed comprising members of a ceasefire group and a party that won seats in the 1990 elections. Five former members of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and five members of Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF) together with five other Mon elites, who make up the new party, founded a 15-member committee and later announced that they are not going to participate in the upcoming election.
The SPDC has not answered opposition calls to amend the 2008 constitution or state clearly how the electoral process will be managed and the terms that new political parties can organise. In a speech to military retirees, Than Shwe said that the transition to a parliamentary system meant various parties with different opinions would appear, but he warned that the new parties should "avoid anything that leads to harming state interests".
The constituencies available for contesting are 330 civilian seats in the House of Representatives (out of 440) and 168 civilian seats in the House of Nationalities (out of 224). The remaining seats are designated for military officials and to be selected by the military chief.
Contesting political partiesEdit
- Mro or Khami National Solidarity Organisation (MKNSO)
- National Unity Party (NUP)
- Lahu National Development Party (LNDP)
- Kokang Democracy and Unity Party (KDUP)
- Pa-O National Organisation (PNO)
- Democratic Party (Myanmar) (DPM)
- Kayan National Party (KNP)
- Rakhine State National Force of Myanmar (RSNF)
- Kayin People's Party (KPP)
- Wa National Unity Party (WNUP)
- Ta'ang National Party (TPNP)
- All Mon Region Democracy Party (AMRDP)
- Democracy and Peace Party (DPP)
- Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (SNDP)
- United Democratic Party (UnitedDP)
- 888 Generation Student Youths (Union of Myanmar, 8GSY)
- Union of Myanmar Federation of National Politics (UMNPF)
- National Political Alliances League (NPAL)
- Democratic Party for Myanmar New Society (DPMNS)
- Chin National Party (CNP)
- Wuntharnu NLD (Union of Myanmar, WNLD)
- Modern People Party (MPP)
- Union Democratic Party (UnionDP)
- Peace and Diversity Party (PDP)
- Chin Progressive Party (CPP)
- Inn National Progressive Party (INPP)
- Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP)
- Wa Democratic Party (WDP)
- Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party (PSDP)
- National Democratic Party for Development (NDPD)
- Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP)
- Ethnic National Development Party (ENDP)
- Myanmar Democracy Congress (MDC)
- Mro National Party (MNP)
- Kaman National Progressive Party (KNPP)
- Khami National Development Party (KNDP)
- National Democratic Force (NDF)
- Regional Development Party (Pyay, RDPP)
- Unity and Democracy Party of Kachin State (UDPKS)
Due to ongoing insurgent violence, elections were cancelled in parts of Mon State (4.08% of village-tracts), Shan State (10.69%), Kayah State (11.93%), Kachin State (16.60%), and Kayin State (47.25%).
There have been concerns from aid agencies that the upcoming election could see a growing number of refugees fleeing to Thailand and China, due to alleged government repression, poverty and low-level ethnic conflict. Ceasefires between the military government and ethnic groups were also deteriorating.
In the run up to the election, there were several bomb blasts in Myanmar. A bomb attack on Myanmar New Year killed at least nine people in Yangon and injured many others, including the regional commander of the Myanma Army, while a series of explosions were reported at a hydroelectric project being jointly built by a Chinese company in the north of the country, the latter thought to be the work of anti-government groups.
The United Nations has expressed concern about the fairness of the election and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed "grave concern" that Aung San Suu Kyi would not be released before the election and thus it would "lack credibility." He accused the government of being "slow and incomplete" to meet political commitments, and said it was "deeply frustrating" that the government would not hold talks with the "international community."
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, commented on the election during Than Shwe's visit to China. "The international community can provide constructive help [for the elections] and refrain from any negative impact on the domestic political process of Myanmar and on regional peace and stability."
The following day, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to the US Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on State and Foreign Affairs where she mentioned that the trial against Aung San Suu Kyi was allegedly "baseless charges." She also added that the government was "continuing resistance to a free and open electoral process. If they stay on the track they're on, their elections in 2010 will be totally illegitimate and without any meaning in the international community." She admitted that "We are absolutely committed to trying to come up with an approach that might influence the regime. We are going to try to do our best to influence them to see that this repressive regime is not one that we should continue to support, and hopefully get a greater international base to take action against them." She claimed to have support from other countries, "I have been heartened by the response that we have received. I have spoken to a number of the foreign secretaries of ASEAN countries, who've issued strong statements." She added that she was working to get more support in the United Nations.
Myanmar barred foreign observers and the international media from the election. The election commission chief, Thein Soe, did add, however, that diplomats and representatives from UN organisations in the country would be allowed to observe the election. He justified the decision saying "We are holding the election for this country. It's not for other countries ... We will have credibility after holding the election in front of all the people."
The election was held amid tight security. Initial reports pointed to a light turnout across the country, possibly as low as 20% in some areas, and the possibility of irregularities. The Guardian reported that independent local observers were reporting "widespread voter intimidation and bribery" in the election.
The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won 80% of the seats that were up for election. The two largest opposition parties, the National Democratic Front and the Democratic Party conceded defeat; however, along with four other opposition parties, filed formal complaints about fraud with the election commission.
On 11 November, state radio announced the results for 147 constituencies in the Lower House, with the USDP winning 133. The USDP won 81 of 86 races newly announced for the Upper House.
The new and previously announced results show the USDP gained majorities in both houses of parliament: 190 out of the 219 (86%) seats announced for the 330-seat lower house, and 95 out of 107 (88%) seats announced for the 168-seat upper house.
Than Nyein, the chairman of the National Democratic Force, claimed the election was marred by irregularities. "We have our evidence. Some candidates complained ... because there was vote cheating." Khin Maung Swe, the leader of the opposition National Democratic Force alleged: "We took the lead at the beginning but the USDP later came up with so-called advance votes and that changed the results completely, so we lost."
The People's Republic of China's Foreign Ministry said the election was "a critical step for Myanmar in implementing the seven-step road map in the transition to an elected government, and thus is welcome."
India was conspicuously silent with segments of the Indian media questioning whether principle gave way to expediency.
During a speech to the Indian parliament, US President Barack Obama said of the election that "When peaceful democratic movements are suppressed – as in Burma – then the democracies of the world cannot remain silent ... It is unacceptable to steal an election as the regime in Burma has done again for the world to see."
Edwin Lacierda, the spokesperson of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, said in a press conference at Malacañan Palace that " [We] express our disappointment towards the actions done by the Burmese government towards the NLD, and also with regards to such a farce-like elections which just appeared to be a display."
At the time of the election Aljazeera argued that the election marginalised Aung San Suu Kyi. It asked "How much power and reach would she still have to rally her followers barely a week after the south-east Asian nation's first general election in two decades?" One such reason was because the NLD's boycott may have failed if it does not play the right cards in dealing with at least a semblance of an elected opposition in a "semi-legitimate" parliament. Pending her release from jail, the political atmosphere would have changed because of a new military leadership that may not be as "cosmopolitan" and "practical" in dealing both with her and external players. The British ambassador to Myanmar, Andrew Heyn, also said: "What they the junta do when Suu Kyi is released will send a message. She is well informed and committed and wants to stay involved."
The following day clashes erupted between the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and government forces in Myawaddy by the Thai border. The fighting spilled over to the town of Three Pagodas Pass with reports that the DKBA had seized the town from the military. According to some reports, the DKBA planned the action in the towns of Myawaddy and Three Pagodas Pass to take advantage of the deployment of the military for election monitoring. Many voters in the area, fearing an attack, stayed away from the polls.
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest on 13 November, despite a court ruling quashing her release. She then said there were no regrets over her party's boycott of the election. To have change, she said, "The people have to want it, and they have to be united."
Changes during the term of officeEdit
On 9 September 2011 Tun Aung Khaing (USDP) replaced Aung Kyaw Zan (RNDP) who had been removed from office.
- Burma ex-Prime Minister Thein Sein named new president, BBC, 4 February 2011.
- "Myanmar junta sets election date of November 7". CNN. 13 August 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
- Myanmar leader says 2010 election plans on course Archived 29 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Kuwait Times. 30 November, 2008.
- Myanmar Top Leader Advises People To Make Correct Choice With Upcoming Election. Bernama. 4 January 2010.
- Kipgen, Nehginpao (29 December 2009). "Reconciliation Myanmar Needs". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on 29 April 2011.
- MacFarquhar, Neil (22 October 2010). "U.N. Doubts Fairness of Election in Myanmar". The New York Times.
- "Western states dismiss Burma's election". BBC. 8 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- Ban on Suu Kyi shatters hopes for Myanmar polls: analysts Archived 27 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine. AFP. 19 February 2008.
- Burma: Militärjunta schließt Suu Kyi von Wahlen aus. DiePresse.com. (in German). 20 February 2008.
- International Crisis Group: Myanmar – Towards the Elections, p.11. Archived 28 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Pichai, Usa (21 July 2009). ASEAN Foreign Ministers expect Burma to act responsively Archived 24 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Mizzima.
- Aziakou, Gerard (13 July 2009). UN chief tells Myanmar to deliver on poll pledge. AFP.
- Gray, Dennis (21 July 2009). Indonesia criticizes military-ruled Myanmar. Taiwan News.
- Burmese Opposition Party Sets Conditions for Elections Archived 4 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Voice of America. 29 April 2009.
- Myanmar considering amnesty for pol prisoners. Zee News. 14 July 2009.
- Burma court finds Suu Kyi guilty. BBC News. 11 August 2009.
- "Suu Kyi's NLD party to boycott Burma election". BBC News. 29 March 2010.
- "What do we know about Myanmar's election?". Reuters. 25 January 2010.
- "Myanmar ministers resign military posts". Sify. 26 April 2010.
- "Burma leaders 'shed uniforms for polls'". BBC News. 27 April 2010.
- Parry, Richard Lloyd (9 March 2010). "Burma publishes new election laws". The Times. London.
- Agencies (9 March 2010). "Myanmar unveils election law". Al Jazeera.
- "Burma laws condemned as a 'mockery' of democracy". Angola Press. 11 March 2010.
- "Burma law formally bars Aung San Suu Kyi from election". BBC News. 10 March 2010.
- AFP (11 March 2010). "Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi to be barred from party and polls". The Times of India.
- "Myanmar election law bars Aung San Suu Kyi from polls". Sify. 10 March 2010.
- International Crisis Group: Myanmar – Towards the Elections, p.8. Archived 28 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
- Associated Press (11 March 2010). "Law bars Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi from voting".
- Reuters (11 March 2010). "Myanmar junta annuls election held 20 years ago". The Washington Post.
- AFP (11 March 2010). "Philippines hits out at Myanmar junta over Suu Kyi". MSN Philippines News. Archived from the original on 14 March 2010. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
- Agencies (11 March 2010). "US condemns Myanmar poll 'mockery'". Al Jazeera.
- "下院60人上院13人の当選発表 – 日本ミャンマー交流協会 AJMMC". Ajmmc.org. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- "下院147人上院86人の当選発表 – 日本ミャンマー交流協会 AJMMC". Ajmmc.org. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- "日本ミャンマー交流協会 AJMMC". Ajmmc.org. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- "Burma's 2010 Elections: A comprehensive report" (PDF). Burma Fund UN Office. 31 January 2011.
- "Results - 2010 Election Watch". ALTSEAN Burma. Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- "Number of voters - 2010 Election Watch". ALTSEAN Burma. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- "Shan State People's Assembly Constituencies - 2010 Election Watch". ALTSEAN Burma. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- Buncombe, Andrew (23 June 2010). "Burma bans marching and chanting during rallies". The Independent. London.
- Suu Kyi party splits, faction to run in Myanmar poll. Reuters. 7 May 2010
- Daughters of Burma's leaders join new party. Taipei Times. 17 September 2009.
- Jack Davies in Rangoon (22 July 2010). "Burma's 'three princesses' prepare for election they have no chance of winning". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
- "U Nu's daughter to enter elections". DVB Multimedia. 15 September 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2019..
- Junta bans weekly journals from pro-election media coverage Archived 24 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Mizzima. 22 September 2009.
- အမျိုးသားပြန်လည်သင့်မြတ်ရေး တောင်းဆိုချက်များ မရပါက ယူအန်အေ ရွေးကောက်ပွဲမဝင် Archived 11 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine. (in Burmese). The New Era Journal.
- Kaew, Nan Kham (7 January 2009). "Shan party eye 2010 elections". Democratic Voice of Burma. Archived from the original on 25 October 2004.
- "Shan Nationalities Democratic Party". Mizzima.com. Archived from the original on 22 August 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
- McCartan, Brian (30 September 2009). US takes a radical turn on Myanmar. Asia Times Online.
- Burma's Ruling General Confirms 2010 Election Archived 17 October 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Voice of America. 10 October 2009.
- "Burma Designates Constituencies for "Parliament"". Irrawaddy.org. 12 August 2010. Archived from the original on 4 October 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
- "Myanmar ruler 'not running in poll'". Al Jazeera. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Areas where elections are cancelled – 2010 Election Watch – ALTSEAN Burma". Altsean.org. Archived from the original on 10 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- Sagolj, Damir (7 January 2010). "Burma election could provoke a rise in refugees into Thailand and China". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Tran, Tini (19 April 2010). "Ethnic group in Myanmar gears up for war, peace". Associated Press.
- "Blasts 'kill nine' in Burmese city of Rangoon". BBC News. 15 April 2010.
- Maung, Myint (19 April 2010). "Military commander critically injured in Rangoon blasts". Mizzima. Archived from the original on 23 April 2010.
- Coonan, Clifford (19 April 2010). "Series of explosions reported at hydroelectric project in Burma". The Irish Times.
- Tun, Aung Hla (17 April 2010). "Bomb blasts rock China JV hydropower site in Myanmar". Reuters.
- "UN chief says Burma election lacks credibility". Archived from the original on 18 October 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
- "China hosts Myanmar military leader". Al Jazeera. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "2010 Burmese Election may be Illegitimate: Clinton". Irrawaddy.org. Archived from the original on 9 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Myanmar bars 'outsiders' from polls". Al Jazeera. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Voting ends in Myanmar election". Al Jazeera. 7 November 2010. Archived from the original on 10 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- Jack Davies in Rangoon and Haroon Siddique (8 November 2010). "Burma election observers report voter intimidation". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Turnout Appears Light in Myanmar's Election". The New York Times. 7 November 2010.
- Reuters in Rangoon (9 November 2010). "Burmese election won by military-backed party". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Burma's Pro-junta Party Wins Parliament Majority". Irrawaddy.org. 12 November 2010. Archived from the original on 23 January 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- "Myanmar parties concede poll defeat". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "China praises much-criticised Myanmar election". My Sinchew. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- CNBC-TV 18. 11 November 2010.
- ITGD Bureau. "Obama supports India on UN Security Council bid: Obama Visit : India Today". India Today. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- Marwaan Macan-Markar. "How relevant is Aung San Suu Kyi? – In Depth". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Thousands flee Myanmar clashes". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "DKBA Troops Seize Three Pagodas Pass". Irrawaddy.org. Archived from the original on 10 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- >> Burmese Dissident Is Freed After Long Detention
- ">> Myanmar court denies Suu Kyi appeal". English.aljazeera.net. 11 November 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- "Suu Kyi defends election boycott – Asia-Pacific". Al Jazeera. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
- "Burma army-backed party to choose new leadership". BBC News. 14 October 2012. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
- "People's Assembly - MPs - Parliament Watch". ALTSEAN Burma. Archived from the original on 4 December 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015.