Myanmar: Suu Kyi's party on verge of securing majority

Nobel laureate's NLD party wins 327 seats in both houses of parliament, two short of majority, election commission says.

    Suu Kyi is barred from taking the presidency under a constitution written by the military government to preserve its power [Associated Press]
    Suu Kyi is barred from taking the presidency under a constitution written by the military government to preserve its power [Associated Press]

    Myanmar's opposition party led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is two seats away from winning a majority in parliament, according to results announced by the election commission on Friday.

    Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) has so far secured 327 seats in both chambers of parliament - two seats short of an absolute majority that would give it enough firepower to elect the new president.

    The country's first free election in 25 years took place on Sunday, but the election commission has yet to announce full results for the whole country.

    On Thursday, the country's powerful military rulers - who have dominated Myanmar's politics for decades - congratulated Suu Kyi on her electoral win and pledged a peaceful transfer of power.

    Earlier, President Thein Sein, a former general and army commander, offered congratulations to the NLD.

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also congratulated Suu Kyi and her party on Thursday for a "landmark performance".

    Ban also acknowledged the "the courage and vision" of President Thein Sein who ushered in sweeping democratic and economic reforms four years ago in the country, also known as Burma.

    "While saying this, he is regretfully aware that a large number of voters from minority communities, in particular the Rohingya, were denied the right to vote and some were disqualified as candidates," Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

    Myanmar's government has denied the Rohingya Muslims citizenship. Hundreds died in clashes between Rohingya and Buddhists in 2012.

    Some 140,000 Rohingya live in squalid camps, while thousands more have fled by boat, leading to a regional migration crisis.

    Suu Kyi won the last free vote in 1990, but the military ignored the result. She spent most of the next 20 years under house arrest before her release in 2010.

    She is barred from taking the presidency because she's married to a foreigner, under a constitution written by the then-ruling generals to preserve their power. But Suu Kyi says that may change once her party is in power.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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