Aung San Suu Kyi said to have won parliamentary seat
Yangon: The party of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi said she had led it to a landslide election victory Sunday, setting the stage for her to take public office for the first time and head a small opposition in the military-dominated parliament.
As results came in Sunday night from the poll watchers of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, party spokesman and campaign manager Nyan Win projected it would win 40 of 45 parliamentary seats at stake. It had contested 44.
No official results were expected before Monday. Independent verification of the vote was not possible.
The victory, if confirmed, would mark a major milestone in the Southeast Asian nation, where the military has ruled almost exclusively for a half-century and where a new reform-minded government is seeking legitimacy and a lifting of Western sanctions.
It would also mark the biggest prize of Suu Kyi’s political career, and a spectacular reversal of fortune for the 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate who the former junta had kept imprisoned in her lakeside home for the better part of two decades.
A digital signboard outside the National League for Democracy’s headquarters in Myanmar’s main city, Yangon, announced in the late afternoon that Suu Kyi had won a seat. Supporters gathered by the thousands began wildly shouting upon learning the news, chanting “We won! We won!” while clapping, dancing, waving red party flags and gesturing with thumbs-up and V-for-victory signs.
As more counts came in from the NLD’s poll watchers around the country, the crowd grew to as many as 10,000. The party’s security guards tried without success to keep the traffic flowing past the people occupying much of the road and all nearby sidewalks.
The NLD captured all four seats in the capital, Naypyitaw, said one of its senior members, Tin Oo.
Results in Naypyitaw had been hard to predict, because many of its residents are civil servants and their families dependent on the government for their livelihoods, and might have favored the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party. The turnout when Suu Kyi campaigned there was noticeably smaller than elsewhere.
“It is the people’s victory! We have taught them a lesson,” said a shopkeeper who goes by the single name Thein who wore a T-shirt with Suu Kyi’s picture on the front and her party’s fighting peacock on the back.
The digital screen displaying results also flashed a message from Suu Kyi to her followers noting that they were understandably happy but should avoid gloating. She cautioned them to “Please refrain from rude behavior or actions that would make the other side unhappy.”
All results must be confirmed by the official electoral commission, which may not make an official declaration for days.