Myanmar elections: What you need to know

Amid a raging pandemic, voting is underway in Myanmar as the country’s most popular leader Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi faces an election that is being seen as a test of her leadership of the country over the last five years.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Myanmar elections:

1. More than 90 parties are competing for seats in the lower and upper houses of the national Parliament. There are more than 37 million people eligible to vote, including 5 million first-time voters.

2. Voters will exercise their franchise to elect members for the upper and lower houses of the national Parliament, the House of Nationalities and the House of Representatives respectively, as well as to the assemblies of Myanmar’s seven states and seven regions — a total of 1,171 seats.

3. The President is elected by the bicameral national Parliament. chief ministers of the states and regions are appointed by the President.

4. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won the last elections in 2015 in a landslide, ending more than five decades of military-directed rule in the country.

Read more: Myanmar Election: Nobel winner Suu Kyi’s party expected to win second term

5. Her main challenger is the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, which has led the opposition in Parliament.

6. Suu Kyi’s government faced many challenges with respect to the economy, rising inequality, simmering tensions among the country’s fractious ethnic groups and the coronavirus pandemic.

7. The election results will be announced on November 9 but it may take up to a week to collect all of the results, some of which will come from remote jungle areas.

8. The elections will be held against the backdrop of the continuing Rohingya crisis, a nationalist Buddhist resurgence, and an assertion by a military that runs the country along with the elected civilian government in a hybrid system.

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