Burma General Elections: November 8, 2020

A voter casts her ballot in a 2012 by-election in Burma. Photo credit: Wikimedia/Htoo Tay Zar (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Freedom House Rating

Not Free
Government Type
Parliamentary Republic
56.6 million
General Elections (Parliamentary, State and Regional)
November 8, 2020
General Elections (Parliamentary, State and Regional)
November 8, 2015

Burma, also called Myanmar, is holding general elections on November 8, 2020. Voters will elect members of both houses of the bicameral Assembly of the Union (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw), the bicameral parliament, except for the seats reserved for the military. Additionally, voters will elect state and regional Hluttaws (legislatures). In total, more than 1,000 seats are up for election.

Municipal elections happen at various times, not at the same time as general elections.

Political Context

Burma seemed to be moving toward democracy following the  country’s first credible, relatively free elections in 2015, which swept Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD) to power following decades of military dictatorship. Once held up by the global community as a paragon of moral authority for giving up her own freedom in the fight for democracy, Suu Kyi’s tenure as the country’s de facto leader has disappointed many. For example, Burma still has hundreds of political prisoners, including many who were arrested after the NLD came to power.

Ethnic conflicts continue between the dominant Burmans, who comprise roughly 60 percent of the population, and different minority groups. The crisis in Rakhine or Arakan State with the Muslim Rohingya, which some have called a genocide, has created 700,000 refugees in neighboring Bangladesh and 128,000 internally displaced people

Curated News and Analysis

Tun Khin, Washington Post (October 14, 2020): Don’t be fooled. Myanmar’s ‘democratic election’ is a sham.

Rory Wallace, Asia Times (October 10, 2020): No good or safe choices at Myanmar’s election

Kyaw Zwa Moe, The Irrawaddy (October 9, 2020): A Few Predictions for Myanmar’s Upcoming Election

Shibani Mahtani and Cape Diamond, Washington Post (October 9, 2020): A coronavirus wave is hitting Myanmar, but Suu Kyi vows elections will go ahead

Sebastian Strangio, The Diplomat (October 8, 2020): Rights Group Details ‘Squalid and Abusive’ Conditions in Myanmar Camps

Sebastian Strangio, The Diplomat (September 24, 2020): Myanmar Election Will Fail to Meet Proper Standards: UN

21votes does not necessarily agree with all of the opinions expressed in the linked articles; rather, our goal is to curate a wide range of voices. Furthermore, none of the individuals or organizations referenced have reviewed 21votes’ content. That is to say, their inclusion should not be taken to imply that they endorse us in any way. More on our approach here

Updated October 16, 2020

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