Myanmar's April 1 Parliamentary By-Elections

Publication Date: 
18 Jul 2012

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Following the appointment of elected representatives to the government by Myanmar's new President Thein Sein, the April 1 by-elections were required to fill vacant legislative seats. The main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), sought to contest seats in the by-elections for the first time since 1990, when it was denied a mandate to govern by the country's military. NLD's decision to participate in 2012 was a pragmatic response to the new government's top-down reforms that opened partial but significant democratic political space in Myanmar.

Most stakeholders saw the limited race as an opportunity to achieve a more representative parliament while not challenging the political interests of the former regime. Adding to the historical significance of the elections, NLD leader and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi stood as a candidate, easily winning her district.

This one-pager examines the results of the historic election, the environment in which it took place and the impact of the results on the 2015 general elections.