Article by Khin KoKo Hsu and Kyi Shinn Khin
The historic elections in Myanmar were held on November 8th, 2015. This was the first election in the country after 50 years of military rule. The election included many different groups, but the major ones were Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), led by the incumbent president, President U Thein Sein, and the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It was a very tight and suspenseful competition. Thousands of people across Myanmar gathered in front of their TVs and watched the live counting of the votes, and the people in other parts of the world who do not have access to the Burmese national channels watched the news, hoping for results to come.
The results satisfied most people, with NLD obtaining the majority of the missing seats to be filled in the parliament. Even though Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was banned from becoming president because of her foreign marriage, we were all really glad to hear that she had announced she would take the role “above the President” if NLD wins, which it did. Especially for the people in Myanmar, we see the rise of NLD as a very big development for the country.
Here are some thoughts and comments from us, ISS students who are Burmese citizens:
Khin KoKo Hsu: It was very sad that I couldn’t be there in the country when the election was going on. But I was very excited about it and was kept up to date by my friends and family. During that day, my Facebook newsfeed was full of the election news. Everything I saw on my newsfeed was full of people’s pinky finger dipped in purple paint to show that they have voted for NLD party. My whole family was hoping for NLD to win. By night time, all the votes were counted and the results were in. NLD won the election and I was very elated to know that. Finally, the time has arrived and my country will shine and develop more than it ever did before.
Kyi Shinn Khin: The meaningful part of this election was the fact that I had the opportunity to go back home to Myanmar and watch the vote counting live. I remember the suspenseful feeling the whole house had, we were all crowded in front of the teacher, looking at the vote tallies and wishing for NLD to win the role of presidency. In Yangon, where I live, NLD won most of the available seats. When the results came out with a clear statement that NLD had won most of the seats, my mother and father, who, obviously knew more about politics than I do, were so thrilled. They told my younger brother and I that Myanmar is going to change. They believed that NLD could help change the laws, environment, education and lots of things in Myanmar. “It will take about 2 years,” my mom had said, “and I believe Myanmar will become very developed in many different areas. If the education back in Myanmar improves, we will be going back.” Of course that idea was very amazing to me, because I really miss my house, my dogs, my noisy piano, my car, my relatives, my best friends and school in Myanmar and want to go back. I was also really thrilled that this election will become the turning point to Myanmar’s quick development, and happy that it will become a very big theme in Myanmar’s history.