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Elections in Myanmar

Myanmar is a unitary republic, with elected representatives at the national state or region levels. On the national level, the president who is the head of state and legislature, is elected indirectly through an Electoral College. According to the 2008 constitution, the term durations of the President, and Cabinet are five years.[1] All elections are regulated by the Union Election Commission.[2]

Myanmar is divided into 330 constituencies, and elections are only held in constituencies where there is more than one candidate. Otherwise, a representative is selected from each constituency with additional 110 seats appointed by the military,[3] [2] These 440 representatives comprise the Pyithu Hluttaw. The Election Commission, a body dominated by the military[4] may decide not to hold elections in certain constituencies where they deem the situation unsafe. The goal of the election is to appoint Members of the Assembly in both the upper house (the House of Nationalities) and the lower house (the House of Representatives) of the Assembly of the Union, and State and Region Hluttaws. Ethnic Affairs Ministers were also elected by their designated electorates on the same day, although only select ethnic minorities in particular states and regions are entitled to vote for them.

The country has had 17 general elections since 1922. Following the 2020 elections, in which the National League for Democracy increased its majority, the Tatmadaw, Myanmar's military, claimed the results were invalid.[5] The Tatmadaw deposed democratically elected leaders the day before newly-elected politicians could be sworn in. Democratic elections were forbidden until the ongoing state of emergency ended which was first projected to be on 1 February 2022, later it was extended to 1 February 2023. and as of February 2023, extended by another 6 months.[6][7]


In \August 1988 Ne Win's one party rule system – the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) – collapsed in August 1988 following the 8888 Uprising,[8] In September that year, the military staged coup d'etat under the guise of intending to hold "free and fair" elections in 1990. The first elections to the lower house (the Pyithu Hluttaw or "People's Assembly") under the new military administration, dubbed the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), were held on 27 May 1990.

The major opposition party, the National League for Democracy, achieved a landslide victory with a majority of 392 out of the 492 seats; under the parliamentary system, the NLD should have formed the new government, however, the SLORC refused to acknowledge the results, and thus the People's Assembly never convened.

The military junta placed the leader of the NLD, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, under house arrest following her party's victory.[9] The SLORC was abolished in November 1997 and resurfaced as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). In August 2003, Prime Minister Khin Nyunt announced a seven-step "roadmap to democracy", which the government was reportedly implementing. The plan did not include a timetable and no independent mechanism for verifying its progress and results. [10][11][12]

On 7 February 2008, SPDC announced that a referendum for the new constitution would be held in May that year, and a multi-party elections in 2010.[13] The constitutional referendum was held on 10 May.[14] The first general elections in 20 years were held in November 2010, completing the fifth step of the government's roadmap to democracy. [15] The NLD was executed from participating in these elections as the Election Commission declared them "null and void" in accordance with election laws.[16] The NLD, was however, allowed to participate in the 2012 by-elections that followed, and Suu Kyi - released from house arrest in 2010 - won a seat in the Pyithu Hluttaw.[17][18]

In the 2015 general election, the National League for Democracy won an absolute majority of seats, taking 86 percent of the seats in the Assembly of the Union well over the 67 percent supermajority needed to ensure that its preferred candidates will be elected president and first vice president.[19][20]

In the 2020 elections, the NLD won 920 of the total 1,117 seats, which was met with claims of fraud from USDP and the military. As a result of widespread investigations and civil unrest, a second coup d’etat occurred in February 2021, and a state of emergency rule was declared.[21]This state of emergency was extended twice, and as of February 2023, is meant to end in August 2023.[22]

Latest elections

House of Nationalities

National League for Democracy138+3
Union Solidarity and Development Party7–4
Arakan National Party4–6
Mon Unity Party3+3
Kayah State Democratic Party3+3
Shan National League for Democracy2–1
Ta'ang National Party20
Pa-O National Organization10
New Democracy Party1+1
National Unity Party0–1
Zomi Congress for Democracy0–2
Cancelled due to insurgency7
Military appointees560
Source: The Irrawaddy,[23] UEC[24]

House of Representatives

National League for Democracy258+3
Union Solidarity and Development Party26–4
Shan National League for Democracy13+1
Arakan National Party4–8
Ta'ang National Party30
Pa-O National Organisation30
Mon Unity Party2+2
Kayah State Democratic Party2+2
Kachin State People's Party10
Arakan Front Party1+1
Wa National Party10
Zomi Congress for Democracy1–1
Kokang Democracy and Unity Party0–1
Lisu National Development Party0–2
Wa Democratic Party0–1
Cancelled due to insurgency15
Military appointees1100
Source: UEC[25][23][24]



  1. ^ Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (2008) (English). Sections 61, 119, 151, 168, 235.
  2. ^ a b "How do elections work in Myanmar?". merin.
  3. ^ "MYANMAR Pyithu Hluttaw (House of Representatives)".
  4. ^ "Myanmar: Mechanics of the Elections". Carnegie.
  5. ^ "Myanmar election: No evidence fraud in 2020 vote, observers say". BBC News. 17 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Myanmar junta extends state of emergency, delaying promised elections". The Guardian. 2 February 2023.
  7. ^ "Myanmar military rulers extend state of emergency by six months". Al Jazeera. 1 February 2023.
  8. ^ Watcher, Burma (February 1989). "Burma in 1988: There Came a Whirlwind". Asian Survey. 29 (2): 174–180. doi:10.2307/2644577. JSTOR 2644577.
  9. ^ "Myanmar coup: What protesters can learn from the '1988 generation'". BBC. 16 March 2021.
  10. ^ Aung, Htet (August 2007). "Burma's Rigged Road Map to Democracy". The Irrawaddy. 15 (8).
  11. ^ "Myanmar's seven-step peace process not inclusive, lacks timeline – Annan". UN News. 10 November 2003.
  12. ^ Taylor, Robert H. (2004). "MYANMAR: Roadmap to Where?". Southeast Asian Affairs. 2004: 171–184. doi:10.1355/SEAA04L. JSTOR 27913259. S2CID 154156055.
  13. ^ "The May 2008 Constitutional Referendum in Burma". Vote to Nowhere. 30 April 2008.
  14. ^ "Burma *Mynanmar: Preliminary Report on the Referendum of May 10 2008" (PDF). 20 May 2008.
  15. ^ Maung Than, Tin Maung (2011). "MYANMAR'S 2010 ELECTIONS: Continuity and Change". Southeast Asian Affairs: 190–207. JSTOR 41418644 – via JSTOR.
  16. ^ "Sixty Years after Human Rights Declaration Adopted Challenge Remains Same — Bringing Vision Closer to Ground, so It Touches 'Lives of Real People', Third Committee Told". United Nations. 20 October 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Myanmar confirms sweeping election victory for Suu Kyi's party". CNN. 4 April 2012.
  18. ^ "Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi wins by-election: NLD party". BBC. 1 April 2012.
  19. ^ "Aung San Suu Kyi wins outright majority in Myanmar election". The Guardian. 13 November 2015.
  20. ^ "Burma Elections 2015". Human Rights watch. 16 November 2015.
  21. ^ Kipgen, Nehginpao (22 February 2021). "The 2020 Myanmar Election and the 2021 Coup: Deepening Democracy or Widening Division?". Asian Affairs. 52: 1–17. doi:10.1080/03068374.2021.1886429. S2CID 232245443.
  22. ^ "Myanmar military rulers extend state of emergency by six months". Al Jazeera. 2 February 2023.
  23. ^ a b "Myanmar's 2020 General Election Results in Numbers". The Irrawaddy. 11 November 2020. Archived from the original on 28 March 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  24. ^ a b "၂၀၂၀ ပြည့်နှစ် ပါတီစုံဒီမိုကရေစီအထွေထွေရွေးကောက်ပွဲ ရလဒ်များ ထုတ်ပြန်ပြီးစီးကြောင်း အသိပေးကြေညာခြင်း". Union Election Commission (in Burmese). 15 November 2020. Archived from the original on 17 January 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  25. ^ "ပြည်ထောင်စုရွေးကောက်ပွဲ ကော်မရှင်". Union Election Commission. Archived from the original on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2020.
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Elections in Myanmar
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