Suu Kyi party eyes landslide at Myanmar polls

Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition appeared on the verge of a landslide election win in Myanmar.

AFP| Updated: Nov 10, 2015, 16:12 PM IST
Suu Kyi party eyes landslide at Myanmar polls

Yangon: Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition appeared on the verge of a landslide election win that could finally reset Myanmar after decades of army control Tuesday, as a top member of the ruling party said they had "lost completely".

 

The polls, the first contested by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy since 1990, saw voter turnout hit around 80 percent as Myanmar's long-suffering people made their voice known at the ballot box.

The military ruled the country with an iron fist for half a century, killing, jailing and silencing dissenters and flat-lining the economy with madcap policies and rampant corruption, before stepping aside in 2011 in favour of a quasi-civilian regime.

Official results from Sunday's historic polls, drip fed to the public since Monday, showed major NLD gains and by Tuesday afternoon the party had swept up 78 of the 88 lower house seats announced so far.

Suu Kyi said she believed that would play out into a healthy parliamentary majority.

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

The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) meanwhile faced a rout after taking just five of those spots in the 440-seat house.

"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. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has to take responsibility now... We congratulate them anyway."

Kyi Win, a retired army officer who sits at the heart of party operations in the capital, said the NLD was poised to win a coveted majority in parliament.

But official victory for the NLD remained elusive, with election officials releasing results at just a trickle throughout Tuesday.

NLD voters remained confident of a major win, but were cautious of kickback from the still powerful army, whose stake in the future is guaranteed by a 25 percent bloc of reserved seats in parliament.

"I think the results will come soon, but I'm worried," said Ma Pyone, a vegetable seller in downtown Yangon.

"I don't know if the current government will seize power (if they lose) or not, but I hope they won't."

The NLD needs 67 percent of contested seats across both houses of parliament for a majority. But anything higher would bolster its parliamentary leverage against the army.

Suu Kyi's political ascent is also capped by the army-scripted constitution that bars anyone with foreign children from the presidency.