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Suu Kyi's party wins absolute majority in Myanmar

November 13, 2020

The party led Aung San Suu Kyi has said it plans to form a government of national unity after a poll still disupted by the opposition. It was the only second such vote since the end of military rule in 2011.

Supporters wearing face mask cheer as they gather in front of Myanmar Leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy
Image: Thien Zaw/AP Photo/picture alliance

Myanmar's ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party has won enough seats in parliament to form the next government, early results released on Friday showed.

The Aung San Suu Kyi-led,NLD won 346 seats, resulting in a majority of more than 50%.

Suu Kyi had already declared a landslide victory based on her party's own tallies, prompting street celebrations by supporters.

But official figures were still being returned five days after the ballot. It was only the second such election since the nation emerged from outright military rule in 2011.

"People clearly realised the need for the NLD to get enough votes to form a government on their own," NLD spokesman Myo Nyunt was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

He said this would help "minimise political conflict".

Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (C) attends a parliament session
The NLD won by a similar margin in the last election in 2015, the first free vote since the end of military ruleImage: Reuters

Opposition seeks rerun

The opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won just 25 seats of the seats that were up for grabs.

The party, which is backed by Myanmar's army, says the vote was neither free nor fair.

It wants the country's Union Election Commission (UEC) to step down and order a rerun.

Under the constitution, the government appoints all commission members.

But a quarter of parliamentary seats are reserved for the military under a controversial 2008 constitution drawn up during junta rule.

The constitution also gives the military control of three key ministries — home affairs, defense, and border affairs.

Rights groups voice concerns over Rohingya 

Independent rights groups have criticized the disenfranchisement of the Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority and cancellation of the vote in certain areas.

The UEC said this was due to the dangers of ongoing combat between government forces and ethnic minority guerrillas.

Critics suggested certain areas were singled out for cancellation because they were certain to elect lawmakers from parties hostile to the current government.

Suu Kyi's international reputation has been hurt badly since she defended an army crackdown down on the Rohingyas that the UN described as ethnic cleansing.

The country now faces charges of genocide, but the Nobel Peace prize laureate remains widely revered within Myanmar.

jf/rt (AFP, AP Reuters)