ST Asian Insider Video: Myanmar braces for elections

WASHINGTON - The timing of Myanmar's elections, scheduled for Nov 8, is being questioned by some as new Covid-19 cases are detected in dense Yangon. But thus far the exercise remains on track, albeit minus major political rallies.

With State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi's image and appeal in the Bamar Buddhist majority land still solid, few doubt that her National League for Democracy (NLD) will win a second term in power in Myanmar's hybrid democracy - a system in which the military's power will remain untouched.

"Whichever way this goes, the NLD is in a very strong position going into November to form a government next year," Mr Richard Horsey, Yangon based analyst and Myanmar advisor to the International Crisis Group, told ST Asian Insider.

"But that doesn't mean that this election will not produce a lot of tensions, a lot of anger in some places, a lot of problems."

That is one aspect in which this election is very important - to cement the idea of transfer of power through the ballot, Mr Horsey said.

The central tension between democrats and the military, which is decades old and is a struggle within the Burmese elites, is unlikely to change.

Yet, much as Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is in a struggle with the military, they are both significantly in agreement in many areas as well.

"The majority of the country will probably vote for Aung San Suu Kyi," independent analyst David Mathieson told Asian Insider video host and ST's US Bureau Chief Nirmal Ghosh.

But the NLD does not have very much to show and divisions within the country have grown, he said. And there had been no progress on peace and reconciliation.

 
 

"Aung San Suu Kyi didn't use her mandate from 2015, she squandered it," he added.