Login or Register to make a submission.


Journal of Contemporary Social Sciences and Humanities



Free and Fair elections in Myanmar: A Case Study of the 2015 and 2020 General Elections in Myanmar

  • Hnin Set Win, Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies, Rangsit University, Pathum Thani, Thailand
  • Sasiphattra Siriwato, Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies, Rangsit University, Pathum Thani, Thailand, Corresponding author, E-mail: sasiphattra.s@rsu.ac.th


Election law and electoral system are formed according to its national conditions. Myanmar has been recognized that it has a truly democratic election for the first time after 2015 general election. Arranging free and fair elections is a very important basic of democracy. This research aims to find out whether political candidates still have more challenges with freedom of participation in the 2020 general election when compared with the 2015 general election and to analyze whether the 2020 general election process is freer and fairer when compared with the 2015 general election. Approximately, six participants who were the political candidates from the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in the 2020 general election in Myanmar were interviewed. This research found that there were three main challenges for the political candidates in the 2020 general election. The first challenge is no freedom of participation in the election, especially in rural areas. The second challenge is that some political parties lost their constituencies because of armed conflict zones and the last challenge is that some candidates had been abducted and abused by an armed group before the election. Furthermore, this research also found that there were two reasons why this election was freer and fairer than the 2015 general election. The first reason is that the 2020 general election was more transparent because citizens, media, and many local and international observers were closely observing the election process. However, only a few observers were allowed to observe the 2015 general elections. The second reason is that the Union Election Commission (UEC) organized the 2020 general election very well, especially the advanced voting system. In this election, elderly voters, overseas voters, and Burmese voters who were in the quarantine centers across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic were able to vote in this election. However, it can be said that the 2020 election was not completely free and fair.

Keywords: Free and fair election in Myanmar, The 2015 general election in Myanmar, The 2020 general election in Myanmar, Election processes in Myanmar

PDF (397.33 KB)

DOI: 10.14456/rjsh.2021.9


Aktar, T. (2020). Democratic Election in Myanmar: Political Transition and Challenges. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/341567437_Democratic_Election_in_Myanmar_Political_Transition_and_Challenges

ANFREL’s International Election Observation Mission. (2020). Interim Report: ANFREL’s International Election Observation Mission (IEOM) to Myanmar’s 2020 general elections. Retrieved from https://anfrel.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ANFREL-Interim-Report_IEOM-to-the-2020-Myanmar-General-Elections.pdf

Asian Network for Free Elections. (2016). General & Local Elections Myanmar 2015: Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) election observation mission report. Retrieved from https://anfrel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/ANFREL-EOM-2015-Report.pdf

BBC News. (2021). Myanmar Country Profile. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-12990563

Burmese News International Multimedia Group. (2020). Two candidates rejected by Kachin State Election Sub-Commission. Burmese News International Multimedia Group. Retrieved from https://www.bnionline.net/en/news/two-candidates-rejected-kachin-state-election-sub-commission

Callahan, M., & Oo, M. Z. (2019). Myanmar’s 2020 Elections and Conflict Dynamics. Retrieved from https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/pw_146 myanmars_2020_election_and_conflict_dynamics.pdf

Carter Center. (2016). Observing Myanmar’s 2015 General Elections: Final Report. Retrieved from https://www.cartercenter.org/resources/pdfs/news/peace_publications/election_reports/myanmar-2015-final.pdf

Chau, T., Liu, J., & Htet, K. S. (2020). Myanmar Election 2020: What businesses should know. Retrieved from https://www.mmtimes.com/news/myanmar-elections-2020-what-businesses-should-know.html

Cuddy, A. (2021). Myanmar coup: What is happening and why?. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55902070

Democracy Reporting International. (2016). The Legal Framework. Retrieved from http://myanmarelectionlaw.org/legal-framework/

Enlightened Myanmar Research Foundation. (2020). Women’s Involvement in Myanmar Politics. Retrieved from https://emref.org/sites/emref.org/files/publication-docs/sa_voix_-_17_eng-final.pdf

Fisher, J. (2015). Myanmar’s 2015 Landmark Elections Explained. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-33547036

Grafilo, J. (2020). NLD wins 396 parliament seats. Retrieved from https://www.mmtimes.com/news/nld-wins-396-parliament-seats.html

International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. (2020). 2020 General Election in Myanmar: Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.idea.int/sites/default/files/news/news-pdfs/2020-General-Election-in-Myanmar-Fact-Sheet_14-July-2020.pdf

Khine, M. T. (2020). Rejected Candidates in Myanmar’s Rakhine State Says He’s Been Bullied off the Ballot. Retrieved from https://www.irrawaddy.com/elections/rejected-candidate-myanmars-rakhine-state-says-hes-bullied-off-ballot.html

Lehmann, A. (2010). Elections in Myanmar are unlikely to be “free and fair”. Retrieved from https://www.dw.com/en/elections-in-myanmar-are-unlikely-to-be-free-and-fair/a-6196670

Myint, S. A. (2020). Why the 2020 General Election matters. Retrieved from https://www.frontiermyanmar.net/en/why-the-2020-general-election-matters/

Minoletti, P. (2016). Gender (in) Equality in the Governance of Myanmar: Past, Present, and Potential Strategies for Change. Retrieved from https://asiafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Gender_in_Equality_in-the-Governance-of-Myanmar_ENG.pdf

Naw, S. (2020). Opinion: What do Myanmar’s elections mean to its ethnic minorities? Retrieved from https://news.trust.org/item/20201107075320-8dr34/

Nyein, N. (2020). Arakan Army Admits Abducting Three Myanmar Ruling Party Candidates. Retrieved from https://www.irrawaddy.com/elections/arakan-army-admits-abducting-three-myanmar-ruling-party-candidates.html

Paungsie Facility. (2020). Youth & Everyday Peace in Myanmar. Retrieved from http://www.paungsiefacility.org/uploads/3/0/1/8/30181835/youth_paper_english.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3OykAK5qHm0wzEIbFtHdvYN7i5tCToyNaIJLdMzb-haQVK6KNLhDmuKXc

Phoo, S. (2020). Five Electoral Candidates Disqualified in Shan State. Retrieved from https://www.bnionline.net/en/news/five-electoral-candidates-disqualified-shan-state

Progressive Voice. (2020). Myanmar’s 2020 General Elections: A Vote with No Confidence for Many Ethnic and Religious Minorities. Retrieved from https://progressivevoicemyanmar.org/2020/10/26/myanmars-2020-general-elections-a-vote-with-no-confidence-for-many-ethnic-and-religious-minorities/

Radio Free Asia. (2020). Candidates Say Rakhine in Yangon have lost their right to vote. [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/8caXWppjplw

Radio Free Asia. (2021). Myanmar’s Military Refuses to Rule Out Coup Over Election Fraud Claims. Retrieved from https://www.voanews.com/east-asia-pacific/myanmars-military-refuses-rule-out-coup-over-election-fraud-claims

The Irrawaddy. (2021). Myanmar Military Govt Files Cases Against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President. Retrieved from https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-military-govt-files-cases-daw-aung-san-suu-kyi-president.html

Tower, J. (2020). Myanmar Elections 2020: Ethnic Tensions and a Military Hand. Retrieved from https://www.usip.org/publications/2020/11/myanmar-elections-2020-ethnic-tensions-and-military-hand

Wilson, T. (2010). The Significance of Myanmar’s 2010 Election. Retrieved from https://www.newmandala.org/the-significance-of-myanmar%E2%80%99s-2010-election/

Xinhua. (2020). Voting concludes in Myanmar’s general election. Retrieved from https://www.chinadailyasia.com/article/148682

Approved By TCI (2021 - 2025)

Indexed in