National League for Democracy (NLD)

The current ruling party led by Aung San Suu Kyi. The NLD was founded after nationwide protests over military rule in 1988 that ended in bloodshed. It won 1990 elections by a landslide but the military junta refused to hand over power. The party’s top leaders were jailed and Suu Kyi spent a total of 15 years under house arrest. The NLD boycotted the next elections held in 2010. As the country began to open up, it won seats in 2012 by-elections before winning a majority in 2015 elections that saw it form a government. It is the clear frontrunner in the 2020 elections but faces a tough battle to secure victory by a similar margin. It advocates for national reconciliation and federal democracy.

Aung San Suu Kyi

She is a daughter of Burma’s independence hero, Aung San, and was propelled to prominence during the 1988 protests. She grew up in India and in Britain and graduated from University of Delhi and University of Oxford. While under house arrest, she won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her peaceful struggle for democracy. Since her government took power, she has been stripped of some of her international accolades over her failure to prevent military abuses of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. She has the title of state counselor, but remains barred from becoming president under a military-drafted constitution. She will contest the 2020 election in the constituency of Kawhmu, a township south of Yangon.