Myanmar’s flawed election another backward step

Myanmar’s general election on November 8, the third in only a decade since the transition from military rule, could be seen as another victory in the country’s struggle for freedom and democracy. It isn’t.

Even if the country is able to successfully hold elections amidst the coronavirus pandemic, which has recently surged in Myanmar, and ongoing civil conflicts, it will be no closer to genuine peace or national reconciliation. 

The party slated to win in a landslide, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), has openly defended perpetrators of genocide, the Myanmar military.

And the victims, more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled the country and the 600,000 that remain in conflict-ridden Rakhine State, remain disenfranchised from the electoral process.

At least six Rohingya candidates have been disqualified due to their alleged inability to prove citizenship, despite strong evidence to the contrary. In total, the Union Election Commission (UEC) has barred 42 candidates due to discriminatory citizenship criteria.  

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