Myanmar Polls: Rappers Sing For Aung San Suu Kyi
NLD Election Song
NEW DELHI: As Myanmar goes to the polls on November 8, in what the country is projecting as the freest and fairest polls yet, the parties contending are in the midst of election mania.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), is trying something quite unique. It has released a rap song accompanied by a video, titled “Fighting Peacock NLD" after the party's symbol.
In the song, rappers Anegga, G-Tone and Yan Yan Chan each deliver verses in succession, while the singers Saw Phoe Khwar and She croon at the beginning and the end.
“All of the hip-hop artists and rappers stand on the side of Aung San Suu Kyi,” said Anegga, one of several vocalists who feature on the song, in a phone interview with the Global Post. “Before the idea came out we brainstormed with all the artists,” the rapper said, adding “But we want to make our song for the NLD have, like, very booming, banging beats. So we want to take samples from Latin samba music and, like, dance music … and then on one part of the song we want to sing reggae.”
The song is pretty catchy.
“A vote from me will be a change for the country,” Anegga raps. “And for the leader who will implement health and education. Hold our hands and support for the people’s leader, for our leader who will implement peace.”
The chorus goes: “NLD! We must win! People's party! We must win! NLD!“
The 2015 elections are historic as they are the country’s first elections since a nominally civilian government was introduced in 2011, ending nearly 50 years of military rule.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who leads the NLD and the face of democracy in Burma, is the focus of all attention as the world watches to see how she fares. In the 1990 general election, the NLD won 59 percent of the national votes and 81 percent (392 of 485) of the seats in Parliament. Suu Kyi, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. She remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from 20 July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010, becoming one of the world's most prominent political prisoners. In 2012, the NLD laimed 43 of the 45 seats on offer, accruing about 66 percent of the available votes.
There is hope that the 2015 elections will be free and democratic, but observers have reservations about the extent so. Further, the military drafted constitution guarantees that unelected military representatives will take up 25 percent of the seats in the Hluttaw and have a veto over constitutional change. This has been defined as “disciplined democracy.”
The constitution also stipulates that no one with foreign children can be President, effectively ruling out Suu Kyi who has two. Suu Kyi has said that a civilian from the party will be up for the post shall the NLD win, although she has indicated she will lead the government from Parliament.
From the above, although NLD is a popular party, with a quarter of seats occupied by the army, an anti-NLD coalition only needs a third of the elected seats to form the government. In case this happens, the most likely "army candidate" would be the current President Thein Sein. His face is on the front of the USDP campaign buses and the signs indicate that he does fancy another term.
Additionally, although the elected President and government are important, key security ministries (defence, home affairs and border affairs) are selected by the head of the army, not the president, and there can be no change to the constitution without military approval.
Other problems with the upcoming elections include woefully inadequate election campaign voter lists that have been published, with dead people listed and many alive not included. Most significantly, as fighting continues across large parts of Myanmar, with President Sein’s landmark ceasefire falling short of expectations, large numbers of the country’s ethnically diverse population will be unable to vote. Further, minorities like the Rohingya Muslims are not included in the ballot, as the Myanmar government continues denying the Rohingya citizenship and other basic rights.