Who Will Rule Myanmar?

The Elections are Over, But the Battle Has Just Begun

Supporters of Myanmar's pro-democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi gather outside National League for Democracy headquarters (NLD) in Yangon, Myanmar, November 9, 2015. Jorge Silva / Reuters

For most of Myanmar’s 51 million people, the nationwide legislative election on November 8 was their first opportunity to cast a vote in a competitive election. Less than five years after the country’s military junta handed over power to a semi-civilian administration that rapidly undertook many reforms, nearly all of the 498 elected seats in the national assembly were vigorously contested.

The election was not without flaws, particularly in its disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya in the country’s western reaches, but it did offer those with a vote a real choice among the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), led by incumbent President Thein Sein; the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi; and 88 other parties, many of them representing various minority ethnic groups. Most official results have not yet been released, but observers’ tallies at polling places around

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