Burma election round up

After reading reports of voter intimidation in Burma (also called the Union of Myanmar), which has been under Socialist military rule since 1962, I thought a round up of how the election is supposed to work would be in order.

Wikipedia has a page dedicated to the elections which provides background and a lot of comment about how unfair they are, but no information about the procedures.

Here's a useful guide of the seven-step roadmap to "disciplined democracy" which is the basis for the current election.

There are 440 seats in the People's Parliament (Pyithu Hluttaw), of which 330 are elected, one for each township in Burma. The creation of a new capital, Naypyidaw, meant five new townships in Mandalay Division were established.

The Nationalities Parliament (Amyotha Hluttaw) is composed of 224 seats, of which 168 seats are elected, with the 56 remaining being military appointments. Each state and division will have 12 seats equally in the Amyotha Hluttaw.

A comprehensive guide to how the constituencies are spread across the country can be found here.

The outcome of this election is certainly to allow the military to keep control of most of the institutions, including an effective veto on ministerial appointments. The decision of the main opposition movement to boycott the election makes any attempt to gauge the popularity of the government hard to assess. The best indicator in such cases is turnout.

In some respects (guaranteeing four military cabinet ministers) the roadmap looks like the route adopted by Chile under General Augusto Pinochet to move towards democracy. The basic problem for the army is to work out a way of disentangling itself from being in charge (and blamed) for everything, without ending up dangling from trees and streetlamps.

Results can be found here, FWIW.

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