Myanmar: One year ahead of the next elections

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Round Table

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Abstract

Elections have shaped Myanmar’s recent history. In 2010, elections marked the end of the authoritarian military regime and the beginning of a quasi-civilian government that proclaimed a transition towards a more democratic state. In 2015, the first free elections since 1990 brought Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) to power while key ministries and parts of parliament remained under military control. Many of the high expectations that surrounded this electoral turn both internationally and in country remained unfulfilled. The nascent peace process, seeking to reconcile long-standing grievances and violence between ethnic armed groups and the central government, appeared to stall. Some newly introduced liberties, in particular those concerning the freedom of the media and the freedom of speech, were revoked, and an authoritarian governmental style seemed to return. Internationally most visible, however, was the expulsion of the Rohingya from Rakhine State into Bangladesh, including numerous grave human rights violations. In 2020, the people of Myanmar will go again to the polls, this time with an NLD-appointed election commission in charge of the administration. This roundtable seeks to take stock of Myanmar’s politics, societal developments and international relations one year ahead of the next general elections expected for the end of 2020. The roundtable will provide a platform for three invited speakers from Myanmar to share insights, framed by an introduction to the electoral system and an academic commentary. A representative of the German foreign office will also be invited to join the panel. The roundtable will be co-organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation who also facilitates the participation of speakers from Myanmar.