Politics

Aung San Suu Kyi's Opposition NLD Party Wins Historic Myanmar Elections

Nobel Peace Prize-laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), has swept to victory in Myanmar's general election. The country's election commission announced Friday that the party had won 348 seats across parliament's upper and lower houses, securing it an absolute majority.

The commission has been announcing results over the past few days since polls closed last Sunday. So far 80 percent of seats have been declared but the NLD already holds 19 more than it needed to win.

Suu Kyi, who was held under house arrest for 15 years for trying to bring democracy to Myanmar, is constitutionally barred from becoming president despite being leader of her party. This is because her two children, Alexander and Kim Aris are foreign born—their father, the late Michael Aris was British. Suu Kyi has repeatedly said she will lead Myanmar in a role superior to that of president, the BBC reports.

Myanmar's outgoing President Thein Sein has said his party, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which has taken about five percent of the seats so far declared, will respect the results of the election. There had been concerns that the military-backed USDP might not concede power to the NLD, according to the Guardian. This happened in the country's 1990 election when the military refused to recognise the NLD's victory.

Talks between the military, the USDP and the NLD are expected to begin next week. Suu Kyi has said she plans to form a national reconciliation government with the army and the USDP. Twenty five percent of all parliamentary seats are awarded to unelected military officials meaning the NLD will need to co-operate with its former antagonist.

The election's final results are not expected for a few more days and the process of choosing a president will begin in January when parliament reassembles. An estimated 30 million people were eligible to vote in the elections which had a voter turnout of around 80 percent. Though voting was largely fair, hundreds of thousands of people were disenfranchised including the country's persecuted Rohingya Muslims.

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