Aung San Suu Kyi's Party Wins Landslide Victory In Myanmar Elections
The National League for Democracy has won an historic victory in the first open elections the country has held in 25 years.
Myanmar's National League for Democracy (NLD) party — led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi — has won a landslide election victory.
With more than 80% of seats declared from Sunday's poll officials say Suu Kyi's party has more than the two-thirds it needs to choose the president.
The victory will end two decades of military-backed rule. However, a quarter of seats assigned to the military were uncontested meaning it still has a influential role to play in the new government.
"I think you all have the idea of the results," Suu Kyi said Monday after the first 12 seats had been counted and declared for the NLD.
Official results have only been released for 12 seats, all of which have been won by the NLD. The party itself said later Monday that they had won all but one of the 45 seats in Yangon's lower house, and 70% of national seats, although this has not been confirmed officially, the BBC said.
This would mean that the party would not only dominate Myanmar's parliament, but would also be eligible for the presidency. However, Suu Kyi would not be personally eligible for the position due to provisions in the country's constitution that prevent people with foreign-born children from holding the office.
"We will win a landslide," Nyan Win, another NLD spokesman, told AP.
Sunday's vote is a landmark moment in Myanmar's history. The country was ruled by an oppressive military junta for almost half a century, and Suu Kyi spent roughly 15 years under house arrest for her efforts to promote democracy.
Earlier Monday, the chairman of the military-backed ruling party USDP, Htay Oo, conceded the party had a "higher percentage of losses than wins."
"As a political party, it is our responsibility to serve the people whether we win the elections or not. We have a responsibility to assist with any work that will serve the people's interest," Oo said.
The USDP chairman said that although results are not official, his party would "accept the outcome" but "might have some complaints based on our findings in some areas."
Oo lost his own parliamentary seat in the Hinthada constituency, BBC Burmese reported.
A big turnout was expected, with some 80% of the 30 million registered voters in the country estimated to have headed to the polls, according to the BBC.
However, concerns around the fairness of the elections have been raised, with hundreds of thousands of people in Myanmar denied the right to vote, including the oppressed Rohingya Muslim minority.
However, international election observers — in Myanmar for the first time — said that the voting process in the fledgling democracy was generally relatively smooth, despite some isolated anomalies, the BBC reported.
Supporters of the NLD gathered outside the party's headquarters in Yangon — Myanmar's former capital and its largest city — to watch the results come in Monday.
Speaking to the crowds, Suu Kyi spoke of the need for patience ahead of the final result, the BBC reported.
"It is still a bit early to congratulate our candidates who will be the winners. I want to remind you all that even candidates who didn't win have to accept the winners but it is important not to provoke the candidates who didn't win to make them feel bad," Suu Kyi said, according to AFP.
Opposition figures say the provision in Myanmar's constitution barring people with foreign-born children from serving as president was designed specifically to prevent Suu Kyi from holding the office, given that her two children with her late husband are British-born.
This would mean that Suu Kyi would likely nominate someone else to hold the role of president, with the NLD leader saying she would be "above the president," according to the BBC.
The NLD may make moves to alter the constitution if they do gain a large majority, but are likely to face obstacles.
The constitution — a controversial document brought in by the military junta which ruled for nearly 50 years until 2011 — also guarantees a quarter of parliamentary seats to military figures.
However, it appears the NLD is on course to win more than the two thirds of seats it needs to govern effectively, according to the BBC.