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The 2012 Myanmar by-elections were held on 1 April 2012.[1] The elections were held to fill 48 vacant parliamentary seats.[2][3] Three of those remained vacant as polling in three Kachin constituencies was postponed.[4] There was no plan to fill the additional five seats cancelled in the 2010 election and one seat vacated after the decease of a RNDP member.[5]

2012 Myanmar by-election

← 2010 1 April 2012 2015 →

40 (of the 440) seats to the Pyithu Hluttaw (House of Representatives)
6 (of the 224) seats to the Amyotha Hluttaw (House of Nationalities)
2 seats to Regional Parliaments
  First party Second party Third party
  TheinSeinASEAN.jpg Aung San Suu Kyi 17 November 2011.jpg Noimage.png
Leader Thein Sein Aung San Suu Kyi Sai Ai Pao
Party USDP NLD SNDP
Leader since 2 June 2010 (2010-06-02) 27 September 1988 (1988-09-27) 8 April 2010 (2010-04-08)
Leader's seat Did not contest Kawhmu (Pyithu) Did not contest
Seats before 260 R / 128 N 0 R / 1 N 18 R / 3 N
Seats after 220 R / 123 N 37 R / 5 N 18 R / 4 N
Seat change Decrease40 R / Decrease5 N Increase37 R / Increase4 N Steady R / Increase1 N
A woman places her ballot into the Pyithu Hluttaw representative election box in the April by-elections.

The main opposition party National League for Democracy was re-registered for the by-elections on 13 December 2011 as part of the reforms in Burma since 2010. It won in 43 of the 44 seats they contested (out of 45 available).[6] Its leader Aung San Suu Kyi ran in the seat of Kawhmu,[7] which she gained.

Changes during the term of officeEdit

House of RepresentativesEdit

  • 9 September 2011: Tun Aung Khaing (USDP) replaced Aung Kyaw Zan (RNDP) who had been removed from office.[8]
  • 1 March 2012: Aung Sein Tha (RNDP, Arakan State's Minbya constituency) died in office and was not replaced.[5]

House of NationalitiesEdit

  • 28 January 2012: Bogyi a.k.a. Aung Ngwe (USDP, Sagaing Division constituency 2) died in office and was not replaced.[9]
  • 2012: Phone Myint Aung (Rangoon Division constituency 3) left the NDF to join the NNDP.
  • 5 February 2013: Tin Shwe (NDF, Rangoon Division constituency 6) resigned from his seat to become a Hotels and Tourism Deputy Minister and was not replaced.[9]
  • 2013: Maung Sa Pru (RNDP, Arakan State constituency 4) died in office and was not replaced.[9]

Election observersEdit

In February 2012, President Thein Sein remarked that the government would "seriously consider" allowing Southeast Asian observers from the Association of South East Asian Nations to observe the election.[10] The Burmese government confirmed that it had requested for ASEAN election observers to arrive on 28 March, five days before the election.[11] Canada, United States, European Union, China, and North Korea, as well as ASEAN dialogue partners (India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and Australia), were also invited to observe the election, although it remained unclear the degree of access these international observers were to have.[12][13] The United States sent two election observers and three journalists.[14]

On 13 March 2012, the Union Election Commission approved political party monitors to monitor polling stations during the election.[15] In the previous election, only Union Solidarity and Development Party monitors had been allowed to observe the elections and ballot counts.[15] A civilian-led monitoring group, including members of the 88 Generation Students Group, also scrutinised election irregularities.[16]

On 28 March 2012, Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade sent a delegation consisting of Senator Consiglio Di Nino and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Deepak Obhrai.[17]

Pre-election controversiesEdit

Aung Din of the US Campaign for Burma said that the Burmese government was exploiting the elections to have Western sanctions lifted as quickly as possible, since a free and transparent election had been one of the conditions set by the European Union and American governments.[12] Moreover, the National League for Democracy has pointed out irregularities in voter lists and rule violations by local election committees.[18] On 21 March 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was quoted as saying "Fraud and rule violations are continuing and we can even say they are increasing."[18]

With regard to the invitations of international election observers, a US State Department spokesperson said that the Burmese government fell short of expectations to accommodate observers during the entirety of the campaign season (as typically done), which is nearing the end, as a select number of observers were allowed only to observe the election:[19][20]

Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL), a Bangkok-based election monitoring organisation, has publicly called the election observations inadequate, failing to meet international standards, being too restrictive (only two observers are allowed per government, or five for ASEAN nations), and coming too late (invitations were sent less than two weeks before the election date), all of which make it logistically impossible to monitor all 48 polling stations.[21] On 20 March 2012, Somsri Hananuntasuk, executive director of ANFREL, was deported from Yangon, purportedly for entering the country on a tourist visa.[22]

On 23 March 2012, the three by-elections in Kachin State, namely in the constituencies of Mogaung, Hpakant and Bhamo Townships, were postponed due to the security situation there.[4][23]

Two days before the by-elections, at press conference, Suu Kyi remarked that the voter irregularities were "beyond what is acceptable for democratic elections," said she did not consider the campaign "genuinely free and fair" and referred to acts of intimidation (such as stone-throwing incidents and vandalism) toward party members.[24][25] On 1 April, the opposition National League for Democracy alleged irregularities, claiming that ballot sheets had been tampered to allow the election commission to cancel the vote for Suu Kyi's party.[26]

Two Australian MPs (Janelle Saffin and Mathias Cormann), who were selected to observe the by-elections as part of Australia's monitoring team, were denied visas to enter the country.[27]

AftermathEdit

Much of the international reaction on the by-elections revolved around the sanctions imposed by Western countries (including the United States, Australia, and the European Union). President Thein Sein and the Burmese government were eager to work with Aung San Suu Kyi to remove these measures.[28]

President Thein Sein remarked that the by-elections were conducted "in a very successful manner."[29]

The Union Solidarity and Development Party said it would lodge official complaints to the Union Election Commission on poll irregularities, voter intimidation, and purported campaign incidents that involved National League for Democracy members and supporters.[30][31] The National League for Democracy also sent an official complaint to the commission, regarding ballots that it claimed had been tampered with wax.[32]

In response to the by-elections, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said:[33]

ASEAN leaders, including those from Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia, called for the immediate removal of sanctions.[34] Singapore's Prime Minister said the following: "President Thein Sein has been much bolder than many observers have expected. ASEAN is happy that Myanmar has been able to take these steps forward."[35] Australia's foreign minister, Bob Carr, said the Australian government was planning to loosen sanctions, but not abolish them altogether.[36]

US Senator John McCain, who had met with Aung San Suu Kyi in January 2012, said:[37][38]

On 4 April 2012, the Obama administration announced that it would nominate an ambassador to the country and ease some travel and finance restrictions, without specifying a time table.[39] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said of the elections:[40]

To normalise diplomatic relations between the countries, she also said that following the nomination of an ambassador, the US would establish USAID mission in Burma, ease restrictions on export of finance services and developmental assistance and facilitate travel for some government officials, although targeted sanctions toward "individuals and institutions that remain on the wrong side of these historic reform efforts" would remain in place.[40] A few sanctions (in the financial, agriculture, tourism and telecommunications sectors), are directly controlled by the executive branch, but most of the imposed sanctions were legislated by Congress, and were to take a lengthy process to remove.[41] On 6 April 2012, the Obama administration nominated Derek Mitchell, who was then serving as the American special envoy to Burma, as United States Ambassador to Burma.[42]

The European Union, which had already eased some sanctions and travel restrictions (including on Thein Sein), agreed to review travel bans and asset freezes on individuals tied to the previous ruling junta, the State Peace and Development Council on 23 April 2012.[43] UK Foreign Secretary William Hague suggested that easing of restrictions would be contingent on the release of political prisoners and further progress.[44]

Other scholars noted that the by-elections, which were a relatively minor event, given the number of seats at stake, were not as defining and important as other steps toward national reconciliation.[45] Some called removal of sanctions premature, while others considered sanctions ineffective in the reform process.[45]

ResultsEdit

House of NationalitiesEdit

Six of the 224 seats in the Amyotha Hluttaw (House of Nationalities) were up for election. A by-election was not held in one remaining vacant seat, with this seat instead continuing to remain vacant until the 2015 General Election.[citation needed]

Party Votes Votes % Seats Won Seats % Change Seats Before Seats After[46]
National League for Democracy 4 66.6   4 1[note 1] 5
Union Solidarity and Development Party 1 16.7   5 128[note 2] 123
National Unity Party 0 0  
Kokang Democracy and Unity Party 0 0  
Lahu National Development Party 0 0  
Shan Nationalities Democratic Party 1 16.7   1 3 4
Unity and Peace Party 0 0  
Vacant 0 0   1[note 2] 1
Total 100 6 100 224 224
Source: ALTSEAN Burma

House of RepresentativesEdit

37 of the 440 seats in the Pyithu Hluttaw (House of Representatives) were up for election. By-elections were not held in seven remaining vacant seats, with these seats instead continuing to remain vacant until the 2015 General Election.[citation needed]

House of Representatives by-elections, 2012
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  NLD 37   37     37 92.5
  USDP 0     40   40 0
  NUP 0       0
  NDF 0       0
  NNDP 0       0
  MNC 0       0
  AMRDP 0       0
  DP 0       0
  PNO 0       0
  UMFNP 0       0
  MPP 0       0
  Independent 0       0
  Vacant due to postponement 3   3     3 7.5
Total 40 100 100
Source: ALTSEAN Burma

State and Regional HluttawsEdit

2 of the 860 seats in the State and Regional Hluttaws were up for election.

Regional Parliaments by-elections, 2012
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  NLD 2   2     2 100
  USDP 0     2   2 0
Total 2 100
Source:[48]

By ConstituencyEdit

House of Nationalities (Amyotha Hluttaw)Edit

Ayeyarwady RegionEdit

Pyapon and Dedaye Townships make up Constituency No. 10.

Ayeyarwady Region's Constituency № 10 by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Thein Swe
USDP Aye Kyaing
NUP Mahn Thein Hla
Total votes

Bago RegionEdit

Oktwin and Htantabin Townships make up Constituency No. 7.

Bago Region's Constituency № 7 by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Min Oo
USDP Than Than Nwe
Total votes

Magway RegionEdit

Magway Region's Constituency № 4 (Taungdwingyi Township) by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Aung Kyi Nyunt
USDP Maung Maung Win
NUP Maung Win (Aung Win)
UPP Aung Than Tin
Total votes

Sagaing RegionEdit

Kanbalu, Kyunhla, Ye-U and Taze Townships make up Constituency No. 3.

Sagaing Region's Constituency № 3 by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Myint Naing
USDP Tin Maung Win
NUP Bo Myint Aung
SNDP Sai Sam Min
Total votes

Banmauk, Kawlin, Wuntho and Pinlebu Townships make up Constituency No. 7.

Sagaing Region's Constituency № 7 by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
USDP Tin Mya
NLD Saw Hlaing (disqualified)
NUP Chit Han
SNDP Mar Kyin
Total votes

Shan StateEdit

Lashio, Tangyan, Mongyai, Hsenwi and Kunlong Townships make up Constituency No. 3.

Shan State's Constituency № 3 by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
SNDP Sai Sam Min 47,226 29.1
NLD Sai Myint Maung 45,700 28.1
USDP Nang Keng Phawng Tip 45,220 27.8
KDUP Luo Xingguang (Law Shin Kwan) 17,894 11.0
LHNDP Yaw Thup 6,360 3.9
Total votes 162,400

House of Representatives (Pyithu Hluttaw)Edit

Ayeyarwady RegionEdit

Maubin Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Sein Win Han (Sein Win)
USDP Myo Thant Tin
NUP Maung Maung Thin
NDF Khin Su Su Aung
MPP Thein Shwe
Total votes
Myanaung Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Kyaw Myint
USDP Than Htut
NUP Win Hlaing
Total votes
Myaungmya Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Mahn Johnny
USDP Phyo Ko Ko Tint San
NDF Aung Myo Hlaing
Total votes
Pathein Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Win Myint
USDP Aung Tin Myint
NDF Tin Win
Total votes
Wakema Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Myint Myint San
USDP Htun Aung Kyaw
NUP Than Aung
Total votes

Bago RegionEdit

Htantabin Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Sein Htun
USDP Kyaw Kyaw Oo
NUP Tin Win
UPP Thet Oo
Total votes
Letpadan Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Kyaw Min
USDP Aung Thein
NUP Win Hlaing
NDF Nan Kyu Than Win
Total votes
Taungoo Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Aung Soe Myint
USDP Wai Wai Tha
NDF Win Tun
Total votes
Thanatpin Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Myint Oo
USDP Sein Htoo
NUP Than Hlaing
Total votes

Mandalay RegionEdit

Kyaukpadaung Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Zaw Myint Maung
USDP Aung Win Kyi
Total votes
Maha Aungmye Township by-election, 2012[49]
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Ohn Kyaing 87,598 89.54
USDP Than Htun 6,785 7.74
NUP Tun Kyi
NDF Hla Ko
Independent Kyaw Kyaw
Independent Nyunt Oo
Independent Sein Hla
Total votes
Meiktila Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Win Htein
USDP Hla Myint
UMFNP Win Zan
Independent Myint Myint Aye
Total votes
Natogyi Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Paw Khin
USDP Soe Naing Win
NUP Aung Than
Total votes
Pyinoolwin Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Kyaw Thiha
USDP Khin Maung Win
Total votes
Tada-U Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Khin Thanda
USDP Aung Mon
NDF Nan Htaik Zaw
UPP San Htun
Total votes

Magway RegionEdit

Magway Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Myint Thein
USDP Aung Thein Kyaw
NUP Hla Myint
NDF Kyaw Sein Han
UMFNP Kyaw Swa Soe
Total votes
Myaing Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Myint Aung
USDP Kyaw Myint Than
NUP Win Hlaing
Total votes
Pakokku Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Paik Ko
USDP Kyaw Tint
Total votes
Pwintbyu Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Aung Myo Nyo
USDP Tint Lwin
NUP Tint Lwin
Total votes
Yezagyo Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Tin Htay Aung
USDP Bo Win
Independent Han Shin Win
Total votes

Mon StateEdit

Mawlamyine Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Khin Htay Kywe
USDP Tin Soe Moe Naing
NUP Aung Than Oo
AMRDP Myint Myint Wai
Total votes

Naypyidaw Union TerritoryEdit

Dekkhinathiri Township by-election, 2012[50]
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Naing Ngan Lin 7,681
USDP Maung Shein
Ottarathiri Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Min Thu
USDP Hla Thein Swe
NUP Kyi Myint
Pobbathiri Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Zayar Thaw (Phyo Zeyar Thaw)
USDP Tha Htay
Independent Lwin Myint Than
Zabuthiri Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Sanda Min (Shwee)
USDP Win Htay

Sagaing RegionEdit

Mingin Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Khin Hmway Lwin 27,989 56.43
USDP San Win 19,779 39.88
NUP Htay Aung 1,828 3.69
Total votes 49,596 100
Pale Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Khin San Hlaing 43,946 68.49
USDP Htay Naing 20,133 31.38
People's Democracy Party Hein Htet Aung 831 1.29
Total votes 64,162 100
Sagaing Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Khin Maung Thein 94,703 75.98
USDP Soe Naing 29,932 24.02
Total votes 124,635 100
NLD hold

Shan StateEdit

Kalaw Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Daw Than Ngwe
USDP Mya Win
NUP Khin Maung Hla
SNDP Sao Tha Oo
PNO Khun Than Maung
Total votes

Taninthayi RegionEdit

Launglon Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Aung Soe
USDP Sein Maung
Total votes
Kyunsu Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Tin Tin Yi
USDP Chit Than
Total votes

Yangon RegionEdit

Dagon Seikkan Township by-election, 2012[51]
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Myo Aung 36,126
USDP Aung Win
NUP Win Myint
NDF Kyee Myint
NNDP Win Shwe
Total votes
NLD gain from USDP
Hlegu Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Phyo Min Thein
USDP Aung Myat Thu
Total votes
NLD gain from USDP
Kawhmu Township by-election, 2012[52]
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Aung San Suu Kyi 55,902 85.38
USDP Soe Min 9,172 14.10
UPP Tin Yi 397 0.61
Total votes 65,471 100%
NLD gain from USDP
Mayangon Township by-election, 2012[53]
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD May Win Myint 60,216 77.5
USDP Ye Htut 14,475
NDF Khin Phyu Phyu Nyein 1,162
NNDP Ye Min Thein (Yatha) 414
Independent Khin Hlaing (Zawtika)
MNC Hayma Htay 149
Total votes
NLD gain from USDP
Mingala Taungnyunt Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Phyu Phyu Thin
USDP Lei Lei Aye
NUP Sanda Myint (disqualified)
NNDP Phone Myint
DP Thu Wai
MNC Kaung Myint Htut
Total votes
NLD gain from USDP
Thongwa Township by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Su Su Lwin
USDP Aung Kyaw Min
NDF Kyi Than
Total votes
NLD gain from USDP

Regional ParliamentsEdit

Bago Region Hluttaw's Kawa Township № 2 by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Myo Khaing
USDP Aye Win
NUP Kyi Lwin
Total votes
Ayeyarwady Region Hluttaw's Yekyi Township № 2 by-election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
NLD Hla Myat Thway
USDP Tin Soe
NUP Win Kyi
Total votes

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ In December 2011, Myat Nyana Soe (Rangoon Region constituency No. 4) left NDF and joined NLD.[47]
  2. ^ a b On 28 January 2012, Bogyi a.k.a. Aung Ngwe (USDP, Sagaing Division constituency 2) deceased and was not replaced.[9]

ReferencesEdit

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