EU says Myanmar elections run ′better than expected′ as Suu Kyi′s NLD surges ahead | News | DW | 10.11.2015
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EU says Myanmar elections run 'better than expected' as Suu Kyi's NLD surges ahead

The EU observer mission has said the historic elections in Myanmar were well organized and went better than expected. Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition NLD looks set to win by a landslide.

Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) appears to have won a landslide victory in Sunday's historic elections in Myanmar as the ruling military-backed party conceded defeat.

Results from the elections are trickling in but suggest the NLD could take nearly 85 percent of the available seats in the country's first elections since 1990.

The electoral commission by Tuesday had released less than a quarter of the results, which showed the NLD taking 78 out of 88 seats announced so far in the 440-seat house, compared to only five seats for the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

Results for the 224-seat upper house have not been released, while the outcome in states and regions shows NLD taking 97 out of 107 spots announced so far.

Under the constitution, 25 percent of seats in both houses of parliament are reserved for the military, which also will have control over the defense, interior and border control ministries.

The NLD needs two-thirds of contested seats in both houses of parliament for a majority.

USDP concedes loss

Myanmar Parlamentswahl Sieg Aung San Suu Kyi

Suu Kyi's NLD surges ahead

The USDP, which has played a quasi-civilian role since the military junta stepped down in 2011, conceded defeat in a sign the military would abide by pledges to respect the results.

"Our USDP lost completely. The NLD has won," senior party member Kyi Win told AFP from party headquarters in the capital Naypyidaw. "This is the fate of our country. Let them (the NLD) work. Aung San Suu Kyi has to take responsibility now... we congratulate them anyway."

The ruling party's concession came as the NLD suggested the slow pace at which the electoral commission was releasing results could be a possible attempt to manipulate the outcome.

"The Union Election Commission has been delaying intentionally because maybe they want to play a trick or something," NLD spokesman Win Htien told reporters at Suu Kyi's house after a party meeting. "It doesn't make sense that they are releasing the results piece by piece. It shouldn't be like that," he said.

However, the head of European Union's monitoring mission, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, said that voting was well-organized over a large area, and voters had a genuine choice.

"The elections went better than expected," Lambsdorff said, adding results are still trickling in and would take one week to be to certified.

Watch video 02:53

Talk with EU observer team chief in Myanmar

'Structural and systemic flaws'

The international community praised the historic elections in Myanmar as an advance for reform and democracy in a country that has been ruled in various forms by the military for nearly half a century.

However, both Washington and Brussels have criticized the exclusion of Rohingya Muslims from the vote, the reserved seats allocated in parliament to the military, and a constitution that bars Suu Kyi from becoming president.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest described "structural and systemic flaws," pointing to the constitution which bars Suu Kyi from ruling.

Under the constitution, the president cannot have a foreign-born spouse or children. Suu Kyi has two British sons from her now deceased British husband. Despite the ban she has said she would rule "above the president."

"There are some imperfections -- to put it mildly. There's also no denying the rather dramatic change we've seen inside of Burma," Earnest said.

Meanwhile, the EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said on Monday that the elections "mark a historic milestone on the country's road to democracy."

"In the post-elections period, it will be critical for all sides to accept the results in a spirit of national unity and reconciliation," she said.

cw/jil (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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