Landslide victory for democracy in Myanmar

By Sarah Harvey

Supporters celebrate as they wait for official results from the Union Election Commission during heavy rain fall in front of the National League for Democracy Party (NLD) head office at Yangon. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Supporters celebrate as they wait for official results from the Union Election Commission during heavy rain fall in front of the National League for Democracy Party (NLD) head office at Yangon. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Myanmar’s most democratic elections in 25 years look to have delivered a landslide victory to the party led by Nobel prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Early results point to a sweeping victory for her National League for Democracy (NLD), but final official results will not be known for days.

In an interview with the BBC Suu Kyi said the polls were not fair but “largely free”.  She said there had been “areas of intimidation”.

A quarter of Myanmar’s 664 parliamentary seats are set aside for the army, and for the NLD to have the winning majority it will need at least two-thirds of the contested seats.

But she told the BBC her party has surpassed that with about 75 per cent of the contested seats.

The military-backed Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) has been in power in Myanmar since 2011 when the country began its transition from decades of military dictatorship to a civilian government.

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi waves at supporters.  REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi waves at supporters. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

 

Suu Kyi is one of the world’s foremost campaigners for democracy.

In the 1990 general election her party won 59 per cent of the national votes and 81 per cent of the seats in Parliament but Suu Kyi had been detained under house arrest before the elections. She remained under house arrest for 15 of the next 21 years, becoming one of the world’s most prominent political prisoners.

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