Asia

Myanmar by-elections take pulse of Suu Kyi's popularity

  • A voter casts his ballot at a polling station in Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, April 1, 2017. Voting is underway in 19 by-elections in Myanmar, in the first test of the popularity of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy since it formed the government a year ago. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)

    A voter casts his ballot at a polling station in Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, April 1, 2017. Voting is underway in 19 by-elections in Myanmar, in the first test of the popularity of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy since it formed the government a year ago. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)  (The Associated Press)

  • A voter signs his name to get a ballot sheet from an official of the Union Election Commission at a polling station in Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, April 1, 2017. Voting is underway in 19 by-elections in Myanmar, in the first test of the popularity of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy since it formed the government a year ago. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)

    A voter signs his name to get a ballot sheet from an official of the Union Election Commission at a polling station in Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, April 1, 2017. Voting is underway in 19 by-elections in Myanmar, in the first test of the popularity of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy since it formed the government a year ago. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)  (The Associated Press)

  • A voter signs her name to get a ballot sheet from an official of the Union Election Commission at a polling station on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, April 1, 2017. By-election began Saturday for 19 vacant parliament seats. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)

    A voter signs her name to get a ballot sheet from an official of the Union Election Commission at a polling station on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, Saturday, April 1, 2017. By-election began Saturday for 19 vacant parliament seats. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)  (The Associated Press)

Voting is underway in 19 by-elections in Myanmar, in the first test of the popularity of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy since it formed the government a year ago.

Nine of the contested seats are in the Lower House, three are in the Upper House and the rest are in state and regional assemblies in ethnic minority areas.

Some seats became vacant because the lawmakers were promoted to the Cabinet; some because of deaths and others were never filled in the 2015 general election after security concerns in the area forced the cancellation of voting.

The contests Saturday have not caused the same excitement or engagement as seen at the 2015 general election, and turnout is expected to be low.