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What to Know About Myanmar


Myanmar, the Southeast Asian nation formerly known as Burma, will go to the polls Sunday in the first parliamentary elections -- touted by the government as a free and fair -- since the end of five decades of military dictatorship.

Head of government: President Thein Sein, since Feb. 4, 2011

Political parties: Several, although the two main parties are the ruling and military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, and the main opposition party, National League for Democracy.

Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand

Capital: Yangon; Nay Pyi Taw is the administrative capital

Population: 56,320,206; 30 million of voting age; world ranking, 25th largest

Ethnic groups: Burman, 68 percent; Shan, 9 percent; Karen, 7 percent; Rakhine, 4 percent; Chinese, 3 percent; Indian, 2 percent; Mon, 2 percent; other, 5 percent

Religions: Buddhist, 89 percent; Christian, 4 percent (Baptist, 3 percent, Roman Catholic, 1 percent); Muslim, 4 percent; Animist, 1 percent; other, 2 percent

Median age: 28.3 years overall; men, 27.7 years, women, 28.9 years (2015 estimate)

Literacy (those age 15 and older who can read and write): total population, 93.1 percent; men, 95.2 percent; women, 91.2 percent (2015 estimate)

Internet users: total, 646,700; percent of population, 1.2 percent (2014 estimate); world ranking, 128

Telephones: fixed lines, 530,000; cellphones, 26.6 million (2014 estimate)

Labor force: 35.23 million (2014 estimates); world ranking, 18

Source: CIA World Factbook