Emerging political configurations in the run-up to the 2020 Myanmar Elections (2019)
in: Trends in Southeast Asia, 2019 no. 1
While facing international pressures relating to Rakhine State, and under tense civil-military relations, political parties are preparing for the 2020 Myanmar general elections. The National League for Democracy (NLD), the ruling party, is taking a more democratic platform focusing on the creation of a democratic federal union, while the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) adopts a more nationalist approach, emphasizing the prevention of foreign interference regarding Rakhine State. Taking lessons from the 2015 Myanmar general elections, and in order to effectively contend with the NLD and the USDP, the ethnic political parties are at the same time merging into single parties and new political parties are now also being registered at the Union Election Commission. The current situation indicates more uncertainty in politics and economic downturns, and many indicators suggest that the NLD is now in a defensive position. But be that as it may, because of Aung San Suu Kyi's personality cult following and the ingrained hatred for the military dictatorship, the NLD is still expected to receive the majority seats in Bamar-dominated regions. It may be at risk in ethnic-dominated states nevertheless.