Burma election round up

After reading reports of voter intimidation in Burma (also called the Union of Myanmar), which has been under Socialist military rule since 1962, I thought a round up of how the election is supposed to work would be in order.

Wikipedia has a page dedicated to the elections which provides background and a lot of comment about how unfair they are, but no information about the procedures.

Here's a useful guide of the seven-step roadmap to "disciplined democracy" which is the basis for the current election.

There are 440 seats in the People's Parliament (Pyithu Hluttaw), of which 330 are elected, one for each township in Burma. The creation of a new capital, Naypyidaw, meant five new townships in Mandalay Division were established.

The Nationalities Parliament (Amyotha Hluttaw) is composed of 224 seats, of which 168 seats are elected, with the 56 remaining being military appointments. Each state and division will have 12 seats equally in the Amyotha Hluttaw.

A comprehensive guide to how the constituencies are spread across the country can be found here.

The outcome of this election is certainly to allow the military to keep control of most of the institutions, including an effective veto on ministerial appointments. The decision of the main opposition movement to boycott the election makes any attempt to gauge the popularity of the government hard to assess. The best indicator in such cases is turnout.

In some respects (guaranteeing four military cabinet ministers) the roadmap looks like the route adopted by Chile under General Augusto Pinochet to move towards democracy. The basic problem for the army is to work out a way of disentangling itself from being in charge (and blamed) for everything, without ending up dangling from trees and streetlamps.

Results can be found here, FWIW.


In the event of a tie in the 2012 Presidential Election...

...the House of Representatives votes, state by state, for the President. This means that if Great Plains were a state with 1 congressperson (Democrat), that person would presumably back the Democrat. If Metropolis were a state with 31 representatives (16 Republicans and 15 Democrats) then assuming party lines hold, that's one vote for the Republicans.

Here's a chart showing how this looked before the 2010 elections:

With a few results pending, the picture has changed:

The upshot of this is that if the Electoral College result (remembering that the distribution by states will change by 2012) produces a dead heat (269-269 for example) then right now it would mean a Republican President and a Democrat Vice President (the Senate gets to vote for the Vice President in this scenario).

2010 Governors' Election Results So Far

At the time of writing, CBS News reckons there are 28 Republican Governors, 15 Democrats, 1 Independent and six results to come. However, Brian Dubie the Republican candidate in Vermont, has reportedly conceded, so I make it:

Republicans 28
Republicans lead in 3 (Connecticut, Maine, Oregon)
Democrats 16
Democrats lead in 2 (Illinois, Minnesota)
Independent 1

N.B. Although the five remaining contests are coloured according to the current lead, I would be surprised if none of these changed, for example Connecticut and/or Illinois, which are virtual dead heats.