Suu Kyi wins, NLD captures 30 parliamentary seats
MYANMAR democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday won a parliamentary seat in a by-election that was heading for a landslide victory for her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
Suu Kyi won in 29 of 30 vilages, or 112 out of 129 polling stations, in Kawhmu township, 30 kilometres south of Yangon, according to the public vote counts by authorities and reported by the NLD at their Yangon headquarters.
“Mother Suu, Mother Suu,” NLD supporters shouted outside the office in jubilation.
The government had not officially acknowledged the win, a process that could take a week.
Initial vote counts had confirmed the NLD winning in at least 30 of the contested 45 seats in this by-election, necessitated after the current cabinet assumed office a year ago.
Initially 48 seats were to be contested but voting was postponed in the Kachin State due to security concerns.
Surprisingly, the NLD had seemingly won the four contested seats in Naypyitaw, the capital, and the political stronghold of the military and the promilitary Union Solidarity and Development Party that leads the current government.
This was the first election Nobel peace prize laureate Suu Kyi, 66, has contested, as she was under house arrest during Myanmar’s past two general elections in 1990 and 2010.
The NLD won the 1990 election by a landslide but was denied power for two decades by the former junta.
About 6.8 million people were eligible to vote on Sunday.
Suu Kyi ran in Kawhmu township where she had registered as a part-time resident although her real home is in Yangon, the former capital.
There have been reports of “irregularities” during the campaign, such as placing the names of deceased people on voter lists, but no significant violence has been reported to date.
“I am very happy to be voting this time,” said Han Min Hted, before casting his ballot in the Manyangong township, Yangon.
“This election is much freer than the 2010 one.” The 2010 general election, which was won by the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), was widely criticised as being neither free not fair and excluded the National League for Democracy party.