In 2008 the military regime in Burma/Myanmar finalized and passed a new constitution with provisions for two houses of national parliament and regional assemblies of elected representatives. A quarter of seats are reserved for representatives appointed by the armed forces.
In 2010 the regime began the process of party registrations to elect representatives to the remainder of seats. The winner of the previous general election in 1990, the National League for Democracy, declined to reregister on the basis that the new election would not be free and fair. Twenty-two government ministers resigned their posts and army commissions to contest under the banner of the Union Solidarity and Development Party, which has been formed out of the government’s now defunct mass organization, the Union Solidarity and Development Association.
There are few doubts that the election, which is being held under conditions of heavy censorship and tight control, will be won by the USDP, with representatives of some 40 minor parties taking the remainder of seats. Around half of the minor parties are seeking votes from ethnically defined constituencies in border and coastal regions. The others include former members of the NLD, former student activists in the 1988 uprising and some persons aligned with the current government.
Opponents of the election hold the view that it will be a farce and the subsequent parliament will remain under army control. Proponents mostly acknowledge that it will not be free and fair, but argue that the regional assemblies especially will give some voice to local communities that they have not had for the last two decades, which can contribute to further incremental change.
This archive aims to document the lead up to and aftermath of the election from a variety of sources and viewpoints.