Burma’s election officials have confirmed that democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s party has won a landslide victory in Sunday’s by-elections.
The Union Election Commission (UEC) announced that 40 of the 45 available seats have been taken by Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy (NLD). The remaining five seats are yet to be counted.
The NLD’s own count has estimated a victory in all 44 seats the party contested. It failed to contest the final seat as its candidate was disqualified.
“It is not so much our triumph as a triumph of the people who have decided that they have to be involved in the political process in this country,” Suu Kyi said in a speech to supporters yesterday. “We hope this will be the beginning of a new era.”
Nay Zin Latt, an adviser to President Thein Sein, said that he was “not really surprised that the NLD had won a majority of seats” in the by-election.
Yesterday, Suu Kyi’s opponent Dr Soe Min insisted that he was not sad about the defeat. “I acknowledge from the elections that the people love Amay Suu [Mother Suu] – Kawhmu is all Amay Suu’s now – people here can now live happily after. Everyone has their trust in her,” said Dr Soe Min.
Despite the NLD’s overwhelming victory, the opposition party will only claim less than 5% of the seats in the national parliament.
But the historic victory has been welcomed around the world as a crucial step along Burma’s path to democracy. It is likely to lead to a significant reduction in Western-imposed sanctions in the near future.