Myanmar uses the First Past The Post (FPTP) system to elect representatives from single member constituencies to a total of 3 types of Elected Bodies. Two of these are at the national level: 1) the Amyotha Hluttaw, Myanmar’s upper house of Parliament & 2) the Pyithu Hluttaw, Parliament’s lower house. The same system is used to vote for the local State and Region Assemblies, their local state or region’s legislature. In 2015 General elections, there are 1,171 total representatives to be elected between the Union Level Upper House, the Union Level Lower House, and the local parliaments across the country.
Because the candidate with the highest number of votes from their constituency wins the seat, the FPTP system here, like all 100% FPTP systems, creates the potential for the number of seats won by a party to be significantly more or less than their percentage of the vote. The 1990 Elections for a constitutional drafting committee won by the NLD are a good example of this. The party was reported to have won 58.7% of the vote while winning almost 80% of the seats, 392 out of the 492 total seats.
There was some discussion in Parliament of reforming this system and introducing a new electoral design based on proportional representation (PR System), but in the end no changes were made and the FPTP system remains.
In all of Myanmar’s legislatures, regardless of level, there is a 25% set aside of seats reserved for persons appointed directly by the Military Commander in Chief.
Selection of President
Myanmar uses a rather unique system to select its President. Voters will not directly elect the President. The President will be elected by representatives of both houses of Parliament through the formation of a presidential electoral college following the elections.
The elected and appointed representatives of Parliament will form a presidential electoral college comprised of three groups that include the following representatives:
Elected representatives to the upper house;
Elected representatives to the lower house; an Appointed military representatives to both houses of Parliament.
Each group will nominate a single candidate for the presidency. The three candidates can be chosen from elected and appointed representatives to Parliament, or be any person that is not a Member of Parliament that meets eligibility criteria established under Article 59 of the 2008 Constitution. Under Article 59, qualified candidates must be citizens who are at least 45 years old and have lived in Myanmar for 20 years. Candidates’ immediate family members must also be citizens and not hold foreign citizenship, which is the clause that effectively bars opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming President because her children hold British citizenship as did her late spouse.7
In addition, Article 59 states nominees must meet the requirements for standing as candidates in Parliament (see the following question) and be loyal to Myanmar and its
citizens as well as possess knowledge of the country’s political, administrative, economic and defense affairs.
Parliament then holds elections. Each Member of Parliament from both houses will cast a single vote for his or her preferred presidential candidate. The candidate with the most votes will become the President, and the other two candidates will become Vice Presidents. In 2010 this process took three months following Election Day. It is possible that the process could take a similar or longer period of time in 2015, meaning that a president may not be elected until early to mid 2016.