As Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) and the ruling, army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) have gone head-to-head in recent weeks, a great number of smaller parties representing Myanmar’s multiple ethnic minorities are also contesting the elections.
We’ve been working to curate and feature videos on this historic and challenging event, and here we highlight some reports from our local partners Kamayut Media, which may help provide a better understanding of the situation on the ground.
Suu Kyi Campaigns in Rakhine State
NLD signboards were destroyed in Rohingya-majority Rakhine State a week before Daw Aung San Suu Kyi began her three-day campaign there. Even if her party wins, she is barred by the constitution from becoming president, while a quarter of legislative seats are reserved for the military.
During her trip, Suu Kyi called for democratic change. “This country will be developed only when the system is changed. To change the system, we need to change the government.”, she told the crowds present.
National Blueprint Advantageous for Arakan State
The Arakan Patriot Party’s (APP) leader, U Maung Maung Saw, believes that having a national blueprint to develop the Arakan State is an advantage his party has over other parties. Like the NLD, APP’s signboards have also reportedly been damaged.
The party believes it will win all 16 constituencies that the party is contesting. Another powerful party in Rakhine is the Arakan National Party (ANP), which expects to win a majority of state and Union constituencies.
US Warns Myanmar to Behave
Ben Rhodes, one of US President Barack Obama’s top aides, warned the Myanmar government that the use of religion in politics violates Myanmar’s constitution and could lead to instability and violence.
Hardline Buddhist organisation, Ma Ba Tha, have organised anti-Muslim rallies in support of laws seen as targeting the country’s Muslim minority, stoking communal tensions in the Buddhist-majority country just ahead of elections. The leader of the organisation has also declared that he will be voting for current president, Thein Sein.
Watch more video updates on the Myanmar election here.