After the Electoral Defeat: The Study of General Elections in Myanmar

Mr Kihong Mun1

1The University Of Sydney, , Australia

Authoritarian regimes increasingly adopt democratic institutions such as elections. Unlike the expectation that this would more liberalise authoritarian rule, the trend has led to the theory of electoral authoritarianism. However, even elections under authoritarian regimes, the opposition can win in an election. While electoral results are rarely contentious, those under authoritarianism could be controversial. In this regard, the paper throws a question: what are the consequences of the opposition winning in the election? This research focuses on general elections in Myanmar and analyses on the aftermath of elections which produced authoritarian losing election. I argue that subsequent power-relinquishing from authoritarian to the civilian after the election would not happen without the protection mechanism for outgoing military authoritarians. The paper compares two general elections the 1990 and the 2015 elections which produced the same results of the landslide victory of the opposition but brought about two different outcomes in terms of ceding power to the civilian winner. By analysing three factors, institutional protection for outgoing authoritarians, viable oppositions, and free and fairness of the election, the tentative findings reinforce the argument: the presence of the protection mechanism for outgoing authoritarians is necessary for authoritarians to accept electoral defeats and relinquish power.

Biography: to come


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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