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Myanmar goes to polls in General Elections

People are voting across the country in more than 42,000 polling stations. Close to 38 million electorate are eligible for voting in these elections. A total of 5643 candidates are seeking to enter the legislative houses in Myanmar.

Out of 664 seats in the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, which combines both the upper and lower houses of parliament, elections are being held on 642 seats only.

Elections to 22 seats have been suspended as the Union Elections Commission (UEC) declared them to be unsafe or unstable for polling.

The ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) and the army supported Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) are the main contenders in this election.

The Constitution of Myanmar reserves 25 percent seats in both houses of parliament for candidates nominated by the military.

In order to continue in power, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s party NLD requires to win 322 seats in Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, However, if supported by the army, USDP will require only 156 seats which can ensure it majority with support from 166 military appointed MPs.

Tension has mounted between the civilian government headed by the state Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the military over the last week as the military accused the government of mismanagement of the electoral process.

Reacting to the comments of the Commander in Chief for Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the President’s office issued a statement telling the Army Chief that his comments violated the law.

However, after casting his vote on Sunday, General Min Aung Hlaing told local media that the election result depicts the people’s desire which must be accepted.

The current term for the Parliament expires on January 31, 2021.

 

Report by: Rajesh Jha, Dhaka

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