Election in Myanmar : The hampered victory of Aung San Suu Kyi


Despite the landslide victory of Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), the military junta will remain a powerful political force in the country.

The National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, won the two-thirds of the parliament seats (348) on November the 13rd in Myanmar. However, the power of this new parliament will be still limited by the military junta for at least four reasons.

First of all, the new team will only take office at the beginning of 2016, maybe February or March. Until this time, the NLD will stay as opposition, facing the 331 members of the current ruling party USDP, without any décision-making power. Such a long time for a transition to a new government does not seem to have existed in the common course of elections in a democratic country.

Secondly, even if the NLD members have the majority, they could not freely choose the President. The constitution created by the junta prohibits any person who has children with a foreign national. The military has deliberately limited the powers of Aung San Suu Kyi with this principle. Indeed, she can not access to the supreme function. The leader married a foreigner and she has two British children.

Thirdly, military members are an unelected group that occupies 25 % of the seats. It gives them the power of the veto on decisions and laws which requires 75% of votes.

Finally, the chief of the army has the power to appoint key ministers such as the Interior and the Defense ones.

Worldwide, military dictatorships or countries where all strategic positions are occupied by military persons have become increasingly scarce. But the situation still persists in some countries. Myanmar, Thaïland, Fiji, Guinea are current examples.

Alexandra Verbecq