Myanmar goes to the polls

A historic national election saw participation from 32 million of Myanmar’s voters on November 8.

The first national election since the end of outright military rule in 2011 opened at 6 a.m. Polling stations were scheduled to close at 4 p.m. The count will take at least two days. 

The Government prepared security measures in Yangon and others areas through November 14, with more than 8,000 police officers mobilised. In Yangon, more than 4.9 million people could vote at 5,495 stations. 

According to the Union Election Commission, 6,189 candidates representing 92 registered political parties and independent candidates are running for more than 1,000 seats in parliament and elected bodies at different levels. 

Myanmar’s voters cast their ballots at a polling station in Yangon. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Among 1,163 constituencies, 330 are set to elect members to the House of Representatives; 168 will elect members to the House of Nationalities; 636 will elect regional or state parliaments; and 29 are set to elect regional or state parliaments for various ethnic groups. 

Earlier, President U Thein Sein said in a speech that he respected the election results and the new Government would be established in accordance with the national constitution. 

The President noted he was ready to work with new elected leaders for a peaceful political transition. 

Thein Sein and his Deputy, Nyan Tun, decided not to run for election. However, his army-backed Union and Solidarity Development Party (USDP) is still able to elect him to president. 

Opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi of the National League for Democracy (NLD) is barred from the nation's top office by a constitutional clause that states that anyone with a foreign spouse or children cannot become president. Her sons and late husband are British. 

Some sources forecast that if the NLD wins, she might become senate president, and her close assistant Htin Kyaw could become the president.