USDP wins ‘80 percent of seats’

The pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has won Burma’s elections by a landslide, according to a senior party official.

No official announcement has been made of the results of the 7 November polls, which have been dogged by accusations of fraud and voter intimidation. But victory has been secured, according to the party led by Prime Minister Thein Sein.

“We have won about 80 percent of the seats. We are glad,” one member told AFP today.

The USDP had been widely tipped to sweep Burma’s first elections in 20 years, in which opposition voices had been deliberately sidelined by the junta. The party boasted more than 1,100 candidates – nearly 1000 more than the strongest opposition party, the National Democratic Force, which has conceded defeat.

The majority of world leaders reacted with scathing condemnation to what has long been decried as a sham aimed at entrenching military rule. But many of Burma’s neighbours, including China and Vietnam, who are closely allied to the ruling generals, hailed the polls as progressive.

The USDP took the lead yesterday after results were announced for 57 constituencies, 52 of which the party stood alone in. Other parties to have officially claimed seats are the Kayin State Democracy and Progressive Party, the Pa-O National Organisation, the Wa Democratic Party, and the Taaung (Palaung) National Party.

Much of the controversy surrounding the results has centred on the advance votes collected, often illegally, in the days prior to 7 November. The majority of the advance votes, lodged by Burmese overseas and those who could not attend polling stations on the day, appeared to heavily favour pro-junta parties, despite little scrutiny being made of the process.

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