News analysis

Public spat before Myanmar polls underlines military-civilian tussle

Country heads to the polls today for third time since military loosened its iron grip on power

National League for Democracy supporters riding a trishaw decorated with party flags and images of Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi outside Yangon on Friday. National League for Democracy (NLD) party supporters (in red) passing supporters of
National League for Democracy (NLD) party supporters (in red) passing supporters of the opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party during an election campaign event on the outskirts of Yangon on Friday. The NLD is expected to bag the most seats again after today’s election, though it may have a harder time trying to reach the supermajority it sealed the last time. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
National League for Democracy supporters riding a trishaw decorated with party flags and images of Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi outside Yangon on Friday. National League for Democracy (NLD) party supporters (in red) passing supporters of
National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi arriving to cast an early vote at a polling station in Naypyitaw last month. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi arriving to cast an early vote at a polling station in Naypyitaw last month. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Union Solidarity and Development Party supporters singing their campaign song during a campaign event outside Yangon on Friday, two days before Myanmar’s election. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Union Solidarity and Development Party supporters singing their campaign song during a campaign event outside Yangon on Friday, two days before Myanmar's election.
National League for Democracy supporters riding a trishaw decorated with party flags and images of Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi outside Yangon on Friday. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Myanmar goes to the polls today for the third time since the military loosened its iron grip on power.

While some among the over 5,000 candidates have tried to talk policy, the unprecedented public spat over the past week between the military and the civilian government - which swept into office after the election five years ago - has only reinforced the sentiment that today's vote will ultimately still be about determining the balance of power between the military and civilian politicians.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 08, 2020, with the headline 'Public spat before Myanmar polls underlines military-civilian tussle'. Print Edition | Subscribe