Parliamentary Chamber: Pyithu Hluttaw


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  Pyithu Hluttaw

Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  27 May 1990

Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats of the new Parliament foreseen in the Electoral Law of May 1989. General elections were previously held in October 1985. The People’s Assembly then chosen was dissolved in September 1988.

Background and outcome of elections:

  The election date was definitely set on 6 November 1989. The multiparty polling was the first in 30 years, since the assumption of power by the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP). The name of the country was changed from "Burma" to "Myanmar" in May 1989.

Following the events of September 1988, when the former People’s Assembly last elected in October 1985 was dissolved, the Government announced that political organizations other than the ruling BSPP would be permitted to function. By December 1989, 117 parties had registered. Ultimately, some 2,300 candidates from 93 parties and 87 independents contested 485 parliamentary seats (polling in seven others cancelled). Prominent among these were the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), whose popular general secretary Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi had been placed under house arrest, and the military-backed National Unity Party (NUP), successor to the BSPP and renamed in September 1988. Besides pro-democracy platforms by many of the contenders, a number pointed to the country’s increasing economic problems, especially a spiraling inflation.

The three-month campaign, during which opposition candidates complained of repression and harassment, contrasted with polling day, generally regarded as fair by observers that included foreign journalists and diplomats. According to final results announced several weeks after the voting, the NLD won a landslide victory, capturing approximately 60% of the popular vote and 392 seats to a mere 10 for the NUP. Led by General Saw Maung, the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) military junta – which had promised to turn over power to a civilian Government after the newly elected legislature drafted a new Constitution – conceded this outcome. As of the date of publication of this Chronicle, this new Constitution had not yet come into being, the military remained in place and the newly elected Assembly had yet to sit.

Round no 1 (27 May 1990): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 20,619,500 (approx.)
Voters 15,120,000 (approx.)
Blank or invalid ballot papers 12.3% (approx.)

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
National League for Democracy (NLD) 392
Shan National League for Democracy 23
Rakhine Democracy League 11
National Unity Party (NUP) 10
Mon National Democratic Front 5
National Democratic Party for Human Rights v
Other parties 34*
Independents 6

  Excluding seven constituencies where polling was barred for security reasons.
* Shared by 21 different groups.

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Copyright 1990 Inter-Parliamentary Union