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House speaker and former chairman of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) Shwe Mann has conceded defeat to the National League for Democracy (NLD) candidate in Phyu, where they were competing for a Lower House seat in the Pegu Division township.
Writing on his Facebook page, Shwe Mann wrote: “I have personally congratulated the National League for Democracy’s Lower House candidate U Than Nyunt who won the 2015 general election in Phyu Township. I would like to reiterate my congratulations via this post.”
Former presidential adviser Ko Ko Kyaw is also running, as an independent candidate, for the Phyu seat.
Although no official results have been released yet by the Union Election Commission (UEC), exit polls have put the NLD well ahead in the main cities of Rangoon and Mandalay.
Spontaneous street parties were held last night in various towns across the country, with the main event being a celebratory rally in front of the party’s headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon.
USDP heavyweight Shwe Mann, who was recently ousted as chairman of the ruling party, is widely seen as a reformer within the USDP and has made overtures of an alliance with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a move which reportedly stoked the ire of Burma’s hardline military leaders.
Shwe Mann has been widely tipped for a presidential nomination, and his apparent defeat in Phyu would not rule out that possibility.
Read more about Shwe Mann.