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Suu Kyi's party on edge as polls close after Myanmar vote

After polling stations closed, turnout for the historic vote was reported at 80 percent. The election result is expected to be a major boost for Aung San Suu Kyi's pro-democracy party.

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Historic elections in Myanmar go ahead without incident - DW News

Described as Aung San Suu Kyi's day of destiny, Myanmar's

first election contested by the opposition since 1990 went ahead without major incident on Sunday.

Polls closed at 4pm local time (0930 UTC), with election officials reporting a massive 80-percent turnout among roughly 30 million eligible voters.

Many people were jubilant at the hope they could pull the country away from the grip of the military, which ruled for nearly 50 years before allowing a transition to democracy. A semi-civilian government led by former generals currently runs Myanmar, which used to be known as Burma.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) was expected to make major gains in Sunday's election. The party needs to take just over two-thirds of the contested seats to win a clear majority.

The NLD last won elections in 1990, but their victory was ignored, and its leader, the now 70-year-old Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi, spent nearly 20 years under house arrest.

Landslide but no presidency

While Suu Kyi cannot run for the presidency due to her sons being half British, she has

vowed to take a position "above the president" if her party wins.

A cry of "Victory, Victory" rang out from a gathered crowd as Suu Kyi arrived at a polling station in Yangon on Sunday to vote.

Myanmar Wahlen 2015

Aung San Suu Kyi's party is expected to win the largest share of votes in Sunday's election

Amid fears the army may, once again, take control if the military-backed Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) were to lose, Myanmar's President Thein Sein said his troops would respect the electorate's choice.

"Just as the winner accepts the result, so should the loser," he told reporters after voting in the capital Naypyidaw.

To be able to pick the president, Sein's USDP needs just a third of seats to join up with the military political bloc, which is guaranteed 25 percent of all parliamentary seats.

Observers say voting ran smoothly with no violence reported, despite religious tensions being fueled in the lead-up to the polls.

Around

a million Rohingya Muslims who remain effectively stateless

in their own land were among those excluded from voting. Thousands remain displaced within the country after being forced from their homes.

Formal results are not expected until Monday morning at the earliest.

mm/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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