YANGON – Myanmar’s general election will go ahead as planned on Nov. 8 despite a proposed delay because of recent landslides and flooding, the election commission said Tuesday.
Union Election Commission Chairman Tin Aye had signaled in a meeting with political parties earlier Tuesday that the parliamentary election could be postponed either nationwide or in areas hit by heavy monsoon rains.
The opposition National League for Democracy party led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, which is expected to do well in the polls, said it was against a delay.
Government officials met later with the election commission and decided that a delay would cause a variety of problems, officials said.
“For the ease of election campaigning and for voters to be able to vote conveniently, we have discussed with committee members whether to delay the election date or not,” the election commission said in a statement.
The general election is to be followed by a presidential election early next year when the army and the elected members of parliament will nominate a total of three candidates, and then all lawmakers will vote for the president.
Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist nation, began moving from a half-century of military rule toward democracy in 2011 when a nominally civilian government, led by a pro-military party, took office. Though there are many concerns — including the exclusion of ethnic Rohingya Muslims from the process and irregularities in voting lists — most observers believe the upcoming elections are the country’s best chance in decades for relatively free and credible polls.
If the elections are credible, most observers believe Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy will win the most seats in parliament, and could even control a majority by forming a coalition with smaller parties.