Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has voted ahead of the next November general election. His registration as a voter is in Yangon. However, he cast his vote on Thursday in the capital, Nai Pai Taw, due to a curfew imposed by the coronovirus. Opposition groups called for a boycott of the by-elections, but the ruling National Democratic League (NLD) leader Suu Kyi insisted on the November 8 election.
In fact, military rule is still in force in Myanmar in the name of the so-called democratic transition. According to the constitution prepared in 2008, any proposal to amend the constitution for passage in Parliament requires more than 75 percent support. But the army controls one-fourth of the country’s parliament. Six of the 11 seats in the National Defense and Security Council also have Army candidates. They have the power to overthrow a democratic government. The constitution also deprives Suu Kyi of her right to become president on the basis of citizenship. Although attempts were made to amend the constitution during Suu Kyi’s rule, it was not implemented. Rather, the military’s proximity to Suu Kyi has increased.
This is the first time in nearly half a century that a general election has taken place in Myanmar under an elected government. The election is also seen as a test in terms of direct separation from military rule. However, the country has to deal with the crisis in many cases. The coronavirus epidemic has so far affected more than 50,000 people. And more than a thousand people have died. Myanmar is one of the worst affected countries in Southeast Asia. Millions of people have lost their jobs due to the lockdown imposed to combat the infection.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi fought for democracy with a resounding victory in the 2016 election. The NLD is hoping to win this election again. However, this time the margin of victory is expected to be slightly less than the previous time. NLD leader Suu Kyi cast his vote at a polling station in the administrative capital after wearing a face mask and protective gloves. Earlier, Myanmar President Vin Myant had voted at the same venue.
Suu Kyi’s international fame is strained by Myanmar for its treatment of the Rohingya minority. However, he is still popular in his country. Despite accusations of military repression against the Rohingya, Suu Kyi has not been scratched in her homeland. The Election Commission of the country has canceled elections in the Rohingya-dominated state of Rakhine. Most of the parliamentary seats in the region are held by opponents of Suu Kyi. However, the election was canceled due to the increasing prevalence of violence in the region by the Rakhine army, an armed group that works to protect the rights of the Rakhine community.