May 1989, the SPDC’s predecessor, the State Law and
Order Restoration Council (SLORC), decreed that elections
would be held for the People's Assembly (Pyithu Hluttaw).
On 20 July 1989, the military placed the National League
for Democracy (NLD) General Secretary Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
and the NLD Vice-Chairman Tin Oo under house arrest.
were held on 27 May 1990 and were generally accepted to
be free and fair. Two hundred thirty-five political parties
registered but only 93 actually contested, fielding 2,296
candidates in the 492 constituencies. Only 84 out of the
2,296 candidates were women (3.66%). The NLD won nearly
81% of parliamentary seats. The SLORC-backed National Unity
Party won only 12 seats.
after it lost the election, the SLORC refused to convene
the Parliament and transfer power. The NLD has consistently
called for the parliament to convene based on the 1990 election
results, while SLORC and then the SPDC maintained their
grip on power.
constitutional referendum results
9 February 2008, the SPDC announced it would hold a constitutional
referendum in May followed by “multi-party democratic
elections” in 2010. On 9 April, the SPDC announced
that the constitutional referendum would be held on 10 May.
the night of 2 May and during the morning hours of 3 May,
cyclone Nargis cut a swath of death and destruction in Burma’s
Irrawaddy delta and beyond. Despite calls from pro-democracy
forces and the international community to focus on relief
operations in the areas hit by cyclone Nargis, the regime
pushed ahead with its constitutional referendum on 10 May.
The junta delayed the vote by two weeks in the 47 Townships
(40 in Rangoon Division and seven in Irrawaddy Division)
that had been worst affected by the cyclone.
SPDC resorted to widespread fraud and a campaign of intimidation
to ensure approval of the constitution. On 15 May, the junta
made the outrageous claim that 92.4% of the voters approved
the constitution, with a turnout of more than 99%. In preparation
for the second round of voting, the regime forced cyclone
victims out of schools, monasteries, and community centers
so that they could be used as polling stations. The SPDC
also ordered cyclone survivors to leave their temporary
shelters to cast their votes. On 26 May, the SPDC announced
that 92.9% of voters had approved the constitution, with
a turnout of 93.4%.
2008 constitutional referendum was characterized by widespread
voting irregularities and fraud. Despite the SPDC’s
promises that the referendum would be free and fair, the
regime conducted the process in what the EU described as
“an overall climate of intimidation.”
more information on the constitutional referendum, please