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The 2015 General Election in Myanmar: What Now for Ethnic Politics?

By Transnational Institute  •  December 17, 2015

Despite huge challenges, election day in Myanmar passed almost entirely peacefully. Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy triumphed in polls that were regarded by domestic and international observers as remarkably free from irregularities. The scale of the victory, and the apparent willingness of the current government and military authorities to ensure an orderly transfer of power in the coming months, opens up the potential for an optimistic new chapter in Myanmar’s post-independence history.

The hopes and expectations on the new government are extraordinarily high. Yet all of the challenges facing the country remain as difficult to address as ever. One of the most integral to the country’s future will be dealing with the legacy of decades of political divisions, ethnic exclusions and armed conflict that have continued since Myanmar’s independence in 1948. Although the elections themselves were peaceful, significant conflict continued in parts of the Shan and Kachin states, with attacks by the national armed forces (Tatmadaw) unusually intense both before and after the polls. Adding to this uncertainty, while the poll results reflected the nationwide
popularity of the NLD, the scale of the NLD landslide under the country’s “first-past-thepost” electoral system has left most ethnic-based political parties with few seats, or none at all.

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This post is in: 2015 Burma Elections, ASEAN, Children and Youth, Crimes Against Humanity, Displacement, Ethnic Nationalities, Health, Human Rights, Law, Military Regime, Political Prisoners, Women

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