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Opinion

Opinion: Congratulations Myanmar!

The preliminary results of Myanmar's landmark parliamentary election show that the opposition NLD is on course for a landslide victory. But it's not just the NLD that has won, says DW's Rodion Ebbighausen.

Myanmar's decades-long non-violent struggle for democracy under the leadership of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi appears on course to achieve its objective.

For the first time in its history, Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), will have the opportunity to transform the Southeast Asian country according to its vision.

Fair losers

The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has suffered a crushing defeat in the polls. Still, the party deserves a degree of praise.

Some of its prominent members have already conceded defeat and insisted they would accept the election results, irrespective of the outcome. This wasn't the case the previous time the nation voted to elect a government, as the country's history shows.

Ebbighausen Rodion Kommentarbild App

DW's Rodion Ebbighausen

At the same time, one must not forget that it was, in fact, the military and the USDP that initiated the political reform process. They therefore have included provisions to secure their own interests.

For instance, 25 percent of parliamentary seats are reserved for military representatives, granting the men in uniform the right to block amendments to the nation's constitution.

This relinquishing of power, albeit in a limited manner, is without precedent. Now, one hopes that the military will continue to adhere to its self-set rules, and that perhaps slowly there will be more space for carrying out reforms.

Even the election commission has won. Despite initial reports of irregularities and delays, many election observers say the polls were well organized as well as free and fair.

Pride and composure

But the biggest winners are the people of Myanmar. A voter turnout of around 80 percent shows just how much they are interested in their country's future. One could see how confident the Burmese were when casting their ballots. With pride and composure they voted for change.

And the people should remain confident and composed, since the level of change promised by the NLD - and widely expected following the election victory - will not be easily achieved.

Among the challenges to overcome are not only the special rights the constitution grants to the military, but also the development of structures designed to create new jobs, fight corruption and improve the health care system as well as better integrate ethnic and religious minorities.

Although the people of Myanmar will have to be patient, the prospects haven't been this good in decades.

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