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Suu Kyi's NLD set to form Myanmar govt

JUBILATION: Supporters of Myanmar opposition party NLD, which is headed by Ms Suu Kyi, celebrating on Monday. Official election results were shown on a giant screen outside the party's headquarters in Yangon.


    Nov 11, 2015

    Suu Kyi's NLD set to form Myanmar govt


    RESULTS from Myanmar's election showed the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) is set to form the next government, handing democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi sweeping powers and heralding profound changes to the political landscape long dominated by the military.

    Although it might take days before the full results are officially announced, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) led by President Thein Sein, a former junta general, had on Monday conceded defeat in the election.

    The election commission said yesterday that Ms Suu Kyi's NLD had won 78 of the 88 seats declared so far for the 440-strong lower house, reported Reuters.

    NLD was also confirmed to have won 29 of the 168 seats up for grabs in the 224-seat upper house.

    Win Htein, spokesman for the NLD, said the party would win more than 250 of the 330 seats not reserved for the military in the lower house.

    In its Yangon stronghold, NLD has done particularly well, taking all the city's declared seats, and has made strong gains in the Mandalay region, reported Agence France-Presse.

    NLD is also dominating many regional parliamentary seats - 142 out of 162 declared yesterday - which could give it significant influence over key local authorities.

    There are a total of 652 regional parliamentary seats to fill.

    Under Myanmar's 2008 military-crafted constitution, the NLD needs to take at least 67 per cent of seats in both the lower and upper houses to form a government.

    The USDP needs only to win a third because a quarter of seats in the legislature are reserved for military appointees.

    "We probably will get between, around 75 per cent in the union legislature," Ms Suu Kyi also told the BBC in an interview.

    She said the polls - being billed as the fairest in Myanmar in more than 50 years - were "largely free" despite "areas of intimidation".

    Myanmar was under successive juntas from 1961 to 2011, when Mr Thein Sein's quasi-civilian government took control of the country, with the military continuing to dominate from behind the scenes.

    Ms Suu Kyi also indicated yesterday that no matter who was appointed president by the new parliamentary members, she would call the shots.

    She said she would be "making all the decisions as the leader of the winning party" and the next president would have "no authority".

    Ms Suu Kyi cannot be president herself as she is currently forbidden from taking the top spot under the Constitution, which bans those with foreign children.

    Myanmar's president is directly elected by the legislature, and the new MPs would not take their seats until the end of January.

    The system of electing the top leaders means one of the two vice-presidents would come from the military.

    It remains to be seen how Ms Suu Kyi would share power easily with the generals.

    Still, the news of victory was a moment that she would relish after spending years under house arrest, following the junta's annulment of the results of the 1990 election, which the NLD had won.

    Buoyant red-clad NLD supporters sang and danced for a second night on Monday outside the party base in Yangon, cheering each confirmed win as expectations of a landslide mounted.

    But yesterday morning, the big screen and loudspeakers - which 24 hours earlier had carried an impromptu address by Ms Suu Kyi - were suddenly removed.