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Politics

The acid test of Myanmar's democratic transition

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Supporters wave National League for Democracy (NLD) flags after Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi gave a speech at her campaign rally for the upcoming general election in Yangon on November 1.   © Reuters

Myanmar will go to the polls on Nov. 8 in what will be a landmark election. The main opposition National League for Democracy party will be contesting nationally for the first time in a generation. And if all goes as expected, next year Myanmar will see its first democratic transfer of power since 1960.

     Many people worry that history may repeat itself.  However, the context is very different from 1990, when the NLD won in a landslide but the then-military regime, which had taken power in a coup two years earlier, failed to respect the results. And it is very different from 2010, when the NLD boycotted the elections and the establishment Union Solidarity and Development Party secured its own landslide, partly through manipulation of advance votes.

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