Recap on Myanmar’s Elections

Irecently did an interview on Myanmar’s elections with SBS (see here: Suu Kyi confident junta will accept election results).

Queue to vote on election day, downtown Yangon, 8 Nov 2015

I spent most of the day of the elections in downtown Yangon and visited about 20 polling stations. The area I was staying in has a very diverse population and a large Muslim community. Polling booths opened at 6am, many people turned out early. Most polling stations I saw were not too busy although some had queues, and there were a lot of police about. 

By midday many people on the list as registered to vote had not yet turned up to the polling station to vote. Some people said they may be afraid to vote and expressed concerns of violence. There was only one incident I witnessed in which several voters who turned up to a polling station to vote found their names were not on the list. This was followed by a long and heated discussion. Later, an NLD member of parliament turned up and they vented their frustration at not being able to vote at her. 

In the days since the election there has been many celebrations, with emotions and excitement running high. Each day as more seats are confirmed by the UEC, hopes for change continue to grow. Yet there is inevitably a long road ahead, with the current parliament set to meet again on Monday 16 November, in what will no doubt be an interesting final parliamentary session for the outgoing government.