Yangon votes in historic municipal elections
Yangon (Myanmar), March 31 (IANS): Voters in Myanmar’s former capital Yangon cast their ballots on Sunday, first time, to directly elect a municipal administration. The municipal government of the city with five million residents is being elected through the universal suffrage, first time in Myanmar’s history, the Efe news reported.
Some 3.4 million citizens were eligible to vote and elect leaders of the Yangon City Development Committee, along with members of the 33 municipal communities.
Yangon was Myanmar’s capital until 2005 before the seat of governance shifted to Naypyidaw.
The new capital held its first elections five years ago, but only one member of a family was allowed to vote and residential requirements were stricter. It reduced the number of voters to 400,000. Of This, only 25 per cent voted in the 2014 polls.
In the runup to the Sunday’s vote, Yangon’s streets were full of campaign posters of candidates from Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, party of the military junta, as well as Independents.
Myanmar’s military rulers began a transition towards what one of its powerful generals described as a “disciplined democracy” in 2011, which culminated in the NLD’s victory in 2015 polls.
The NLD formed the first elected government in 2016 after five decades of dictatorship during which different military regimes governed the country.
Nobel Peace laureate Suu Kyi has been at the helm as a de facto leader, but the military continues to enjoy considerable power and has control over three ministries. The junta also enjoys 25 per cent reservation in Parliament.