Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Myanmar's Election Results: Trickle through

November 8, 2010

Authorities in Myanmar are tallying the results of ballots cast on November 7th, the first election they have allowed in 20 years. Unofficial results are already trickling in from political parties and independent monitors. The picture is complex and incomplete; official results could be weeks away. But there are already grounds to draw some conclusions from what is known thus far.

As expected, the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is well ahead of its rivals in the initial tally, helped by the fact that it ran uncontested in some seats. Many members of the current government are represented in the party. Its closest rival is likely to be the National Unity Party (NUP), a hangover from the previous junta, which ran Myanmar along socialist lines. Thankfully, the NUP seems to have largely abandoned its economic principles.

Opposition parties have picked up plenty of seats in Yangon, the largest city, and in other areas besides. Indeed, should they co-operate with the ethnic-based parties, they could form a sizeable minority block in the bicameral legislature, which is supposed to select a new president. An alliance of sorts with the NUP, which ran against the USDP in many areas, is not impossible.