In Myanmar, November 8, 2020 marked the day when people from all walks of life casted their will as to who best suits the posts in the elective public offices. No amount of danger from the still on-going COVID-19 pandemic threatened the electorate for this important moment in their young democratic country. In fact, tens of thousands of people across the country poured in to cast their votes.
Reports confirmed that Myanmar’s beloved daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi, continues to enjoy a popular and favorable perception from the entire country. In fact, as per CNN, Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) had secured the 322 seats in the bicameral legislature needed to form a government. NLD has taken 346 seats of the 412 seats that have been declared, with results from 64 more yet to be announced.
The strong win of NLD proves that the people of Myanmar continues to hold on their democratic will. This is a resonating statement considering that the country’s erstwhile dictatorship still lingers our recent memory.
On the contrary, as the CNN puts it, the main opposition party, the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), had won 24 seats, according to the partial official results. Although far from gaining enough traction to forward their agenda, we can see that the NLD has enough critics as its opposition also holds power.
A message of hope and unity
Two Muslim candidates snagged a seat. Veteran Win Mya Mya and millennial Sithu Maung both came from the NLD party. According to a report from the New Straits Times, in 2015, no Muslim was elected into public office. This win can also indicate the changing tides of time. Considering the conservative Buddhist majority in Myanmar, the win of non-Buddhist resonates a message of unity in the time of divisiveness.
Recent history also puts Myanmar in a bad light after the consistent outcry to give justice to the stateless Rohingya population. Thus, a win for these Muslims can defer any negative connotation to Aung San Suu Kyi’s governance as well as the entirety of Myanmar.
These wins are but the beginning. The true challenge comes after the election as the actual work to heal past wounds begins. Onlookers can expect more developments as the few remaining votes are counted in favor of their respective recipients. For now, we must wait for further changes that would hopefully lead to positive growth for Myanmar.
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