Myanmar’s Suu Kyi gets assurance of peaceful transition
Opposition leader receives more pledges of support from ruling elites and world leaders as her party cruises to victory.
Yangon, Myanmar – Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has received more congratulations and pledges of support from Myanmar’s military rulers as well as world leaders, as her opposition party awaited official results on Thursday confirming an expected landslide win in historic elections.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) has captured nearly 90 percent of the seats announced for both houses of parliament, and is only 38 seats away from an outright majority government.
“We would like to congratulate the National League for Democracy because it is leading in the election results,” Army Commander Min Aung Hlaing said in a statement.
The army chief added the military – which has run the Southeast Asian nation for more than five decades, at times with an iron fist – would work closely with whatever party wins.
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Myanmar’s President Thein Sein, a former general and top military commander, offered congratulations to the NLD in an earlier statement.
While a decisive victory appears imminent, celebrations so far have been muted. Suu Kyi has asked supporters not to take to the streets or wear NLD T-shirts to keep the peace.
“I voted for NLD because I want to change my country,” Ye Htet, 21, a university student from Yangon, told Al Jazeera on Thursday. “I am very giddy. I think my country will be free.”
Suu Kyi, 70, is barred by Myanmar’s constitution from becoming president because she’s married to a foreigner and has children with foreign passports.
Read More: Al Jazeera’s comprehensive coverage of Myanmar’s historic elections
But the opposition leader, know affectionately as “The Lady”, has repeatedly said she would “make all the important decisions” if her party wins.
While the NLD looks to win firm control of parliament, 25 percent of its seats are reserved for the military, which also retains an automatic veto on legislation.
US President Barack Obama phoned President Thein Sein on Thursday morning, congratulating him on holding the country’s first free and fair elections in 25 years, according to a Facebook post from Myanmar’s Ministry of Information.
“President Obama said that President Thein Sein should honour the results and that [the elections] are a milestone in Myanmar’s history,” the post said, with an accompanying photo of Thein Sein on the phone with the US president.
“[Obama said] President Thein Sein’s brave reform is shaping the bright future of Myanmar, and that the US Government will continue to cooperate with the government,” it said.
Obama, as well as Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, also reportedly called Suu Kyi to offer their congratulations and support, according to an opposition party spokesman, Win Thein.
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