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Peace-winner Suu Kyi set to retain Myanmar helm in elections

Sun 08 Nov 2020    
| < 1 min read

Voting underway in Myanmar’s elections on Sunday, with the party of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi heavily favoured to retain power it had wrestled from the powerful military five years ago.

More than 90 parties are competing for seats in the lower and upper houses of Parliament, while there are also elections at the state and regional levels.

With the opposition in disarray, Suu Kyi remains Myanmar’s most popular politician. But her government has fallen short of expectations, with economic growth doing little to alleviate widespread poverty and a failure to ease tensions among the country’s fractious ethnic groups.

There are more than 37 million people eligible to vote, including 5 million first-timers. Fear of the coronavirus and safety measures put in place to contain it may hurt voter turnout. Traditional campaigning was severely limited by social distancing and quarantines in some areas.

Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, won the last elections in 2015 in a landslide, ending more than five decades of military-directed rule in the country.

Her party’s main challenger, as it was five years ago, is the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, which has led the opposition in Parliament.

The ability of Suu Kyi’s administration to run the country has been hamstrung by a clause in the 2008 army-drafted constitution giving the military 25% of the seats in Parliament, allowing it to block constitutional reforms.

The Election Commission said it would begin to announce results Monday morning. But it may take up to a week to collect all the votes, some of which will come from remote jungle areas.

With little sign of major interest in policy debates, the vote is seen as a referendum on Suu Kyi’s leadership.

[Sourced from Agencies]