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Myanmar, also known as Burma, held a general election on Sunday 8 November 2020, to elect members to both houses of its parliament.

The election campaign began two months earlier, under the cloud of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Active campaigning was limited due to travel restrictions and other measures were imposed to protect the population, including a lockdown in the western state of Rakhine and parts of Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. The capital, Naypyitaw, also saw restrictions enforced.

During the election campaign period, Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) announced that voting would not be held in constituencies of the Rakhine, Kachin, Kayin, Mon and Shan States and the Bago Region. The UEC said that these areas did not meet the conditions required to hold a free and fair election.

The 2020 election was seen as a test of Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership and her popularity within Myanmar, which stayed strong domestically despite growing disillusionment internationally, following her failure to condemn the military for their actions against the Rohingya.

The UEC published the official results of the election on 15 November 2020 and these showed the National League for Democracy (NLD) had secured a landslide victory, winning a total of 396 seats across both houses. This was well above the 322 required for a parliamentary majority.

The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) came second, but rejected the results and immediately waged a campaign to discredit the election, alleging widespread errors in voter lists.

On 1 February 2021, the day the new Parliament was scheduled to convene for a planned session to confirm the new government, the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s influential military) seized power in a military coup.

State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other senior political leaders were detained by the military and a year-long state of emergency was declared.

Many in the international community have condemned the coup and urged the military to release the detainees and allow the newly elected Parliament to sit.

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