Burma. The political year was dominated by the
parliamentary elections held on November 8. The election was
a triumph for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her
party, the National Democratic Alliance (NLD).
COUNTRYAAH, NLD won 255 seats, almost 79%, of the elective seats in
the lower house. In the upper house, the party took home 135
out of 168 seats. The military-backed Union Solidarity and
Development Party (USDP) received a total of only one tenth
of all eligible seats. A quarter of the seats in both
chambers - 56 in the upper house and 110 in the lower house
- were reserved for the military.
The NLD also reaped great successes in the elections to
the state parliament with the exception of the Rakhine and
The fear that the election results would not be
acknowledged - like 1990 - came to shame when USDP,
President Thein Sein and Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing early
congratulated the NLD and Suu Kyi for the victory and
promised to respect the outcome.
The victory margin means that the NLD can elect a
president on his own in a special vote in Parliament. It is
expected in early 2016. But it is clear that Suu Kyi cannot
be a candidate. The reason is a disputed clause in the
Constitution that prohibits anyone who is married to a
foreigner or whose child has a foreign passport to become
president. It was thought to have been tailored to prevent
Suu Kyi from running for office because her sons are British
citizens, just like her late husband.
Earlier in the year, she had tried unsuccessfully to
change the clause in talks with, among others, President
Thein Sein, the army chief and the parliament's presidents.
In June, Parliament rejected proposals to reduce the
majority required to implement constitutional amendments,
which would have abolished the military's veto power.
Suu Kyi traveled to China in June and met, among others,
President Xi Jinping. The invitation was seen as a sign that
Beijing was confident that Suu Kyi and the NLD would become
a power factor after the election.
A few days before the election, Suu Kyi said she would
"stand over the president" if NLD won.
However, the new NLD government must find that the
military retains control of the Ministry of Defense, the
Ministry of the Interior responsible for the police and
control of local administrations and the Ministry of Border
Protection. The transparency of the defense budget is also
Thein Sein, a former army general, announced in July that
he would not seek re-election. Tensions in the USDP
government party came in open days in August when the
president dismissed Shwe Mann, the Speaker of the House, as
party leader. Monsoon rains caused major flooding in July
and August, which disrupted the elections in parts of the
country. More than 100 people died and nearly one million
In addition to the tug of war with the military, the
upcoming government must address discrimination against the
Muslim population group Rohingya as well as other ethnic
minorities. Rohingya's voting rights were very limited and
Suu Kyi was criticized for not mentioning their rights. Her
silence was seen as partly tactical in order not to clash
with the powerful nationalist Buddhist monk movement Ma Ba
Tha. It has pushed for laws that restrict the right to
convert and the ability of people of different religions to
During the year, the government negotiated a ceasefire
with ethnic guerrilla groups and in October signed an
agreement with eight of the 17 groups. But among the groups
that did not sign were those who controlled most territory -
the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Shan State Army and
the Wastate United Army (UWSA). Struggles occurred during
the year in Shan State between government forces and the
rebel movement MNDAA (Myanmar's National Democratic Alliance
and Army), which represents the Hankinese Kokang people.