Friday, 13 November 2015

My analysis of yesterday's local by-elections and thoughts on Aung San Suu Kyi's recent victory in Myanmar

Readers, the results of yesterday's local by-elections were as follows:

Shropshire UA, Belle Vue: Labour 546 (47.8%, -28.7%), Conservative 282 (24.7%, +1.1%), Liberal Democrats 240 (21.0%), Green 75 (6.6%).

Dorset CC, Weymouth: Green 663 (34.9%, +12.0%), Conservative 561 (29.5%, +5.9%), Labour 417 (21.9%, -7.3%), UKIP 174 (9.1%, -7.8%), Liberal Democrats 87 (4.6%, -0.8%). Green gain from Labour.

The top story is that we managed a decisive strike against Labour over in Weymouth, Dorset (notable lately for having some very marginal wards), and with this Claire Sutton becomes our very first county councillor ever elected in Dorset. (Incidentally, she was the Labour councillor for that division from 2005 to 2009.) We have proven yesterday that with strong campaigns, a focus on the green message, and a good local campaigner, that we can win elections without Labour's help, and indeed against Labour despite Jeremy Corbyn having tried to win over Green voters.

In other good news internationally, it has now been confirmed that Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy have won a majority in the first free elections in Myanmar/Burma since 1990, and the votes for both houses have not even been fully counted yet. Parties supporting military rule have been conclusively rejected, with the Union and Solidarity Development Party, led by Burmese President Thein Sein, set to win as few as 30 seats at most in the House of Representatives (15 of the seats up for election have not yet been declared at this time of writing), despite attempts of electoral fraud by it in some townships. Many of the other seats were won by the interests of the various national minorities in Burma, many of whom have been brutally persecuted by the Burmese military regime (especially the Karen and Rohingya peoples).

Aung San Suu Kyi has finally got the confirmed democratic victory she has longed for, but there are still many challenges to overcome in the NLD's first years of power. Since the military-supporting USDP was not entirely wiped out at this election, since 25% of the seats in both Burmese houses are still represented by unelected and unaccountable military appointees, and since constitutional changes need a 3/4 majority (not a 2/3 majority), it will be still almost impossible to correct flaws within the Burmese constitution. Secondly, Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be President because the aforementioned constitution does not permit those who have non-Burmese spouses or children (despite being Burmese themselves) to run for President of Myanmar. Thirdly, when the NLD takes power it will need to make sure peace can be made with minorities who have suffered so badly under the Burmese junta, and (since it can still pass laws with just a simple majority) make sure reparations can be made to them, and solve other problems currently ongoing in Myanmar.

Alan.

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