Myanmar’s Electoral System: Reviewing the 2010 and 2012 Elections and Looking Ahead to the 2015 General Elections
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Taylor & Francis
Hunter Marston, ‘Myanmar’s Electoral System: Reviewing the 2010 and 2012 Elections and Looking Ahead to the 2015 General Elections’, Asian Journal of Political Science, 21(3) 2013: 268-84.
Myanmar’s 2010 multi-party election was the nation’s first in two decades, signaling a manufactured transition from nearly half a century of military dictatorship toward parliamentary democracy. The current single-member district, plurality voting electoral system limits the parliamentary representation of smaller, ethnic political parties, and inflates the influence of larger, enfranchised parties, jeopardizing peaceful national reconciliation between various factions and the country’s inchoate democratic institutions. Myanmar’s Union Electoral Commission should consider electoral reforms that: (a) maximize proportional representation; (b) guarantee peace and political stability; and (c) guarantee a sufficient parliamentary majority that can govern the nascent democracy. The ideal system for the upcoming 2015 general elections is a Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) one, with one parliamentary house electing ministers by plurality in regional districts and the other with proportional representation by party list. This article considers alternative electoral systems in light of the status quo and argues that MMP would produce the most stable and representative results for all parties concerned.