Aung San Suu Kyi 'Wins Landslide' in Burma

02 Apr 2012

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Aung San Suu Kyi waves to supporters

Burma's opposition party claims Aung San Suu Kyi has won a seat in parliament after voters took to the polls in the country's by-elections.

The National League for Democracy (NLD) party says the former political prisoner had led it to a landslide election victory, reports Sky News.

If true, this would set the stage for Ms Suu Kyi to take public office for the first time and head a small opposition wing in the military-dominated parliament.

Party spokesman and campaign manager, Nyan Win projected the NLD would win 40 of the 45 parliamentary seats up for grabs in the by-elections.

No official results are expected before Monday but the victory, if confirmed, would mark a major milestone for the nation.

The military has ruled almost exclusively there for a half-century but the government is seeking legitimacy and to have Western sanctions lifted by offering reforms.

Victory would also mark a total change in fortunes for Ms Suu Kyi , the Nobel Peace Prize winner who spent 15 years under house arrest until her release in 2010.

A digital sign outside the NLD's headquarters in Yangon announced in the late afternoon that she had won a seat.

Supporters who had gathered in their thousands began shouting on hearing the news, chanting: "We won, we won" as they clapped and danced.

As more counts came in from NLD poll watchers, the crowds swelled to up to 10,000.

A shopkeeper called Thein, who was wearing a T-shirt with Ms Suu Kyi's picture on the front, said: "It's the people's victory. We have taught them a lesson."

But in a statement, Ms Suu Kyi cautioned against exuberant celebrations. She said: "It is natural that the NLD members and their supporters are joyous at this point.

"However, it is necessary to avoid manners and actions that will make the other parties and members upset. It is very important that NLD members take special care that the success of the people is a dignified one."

All results have to be confirmed by the official electoral commission which means there may not be a formal declaration for days.

Ms Suu Kyi has complained of "irregularities" during the campaign, including the intimidation of candidates and the NLD complained of violations on polling day.

The by-election was called to fill 45 vacant seats in Burma's 664-seat national Parliament and will not change the balance of power in a new government.

Despite the fact any opposition candidates elected will have little say, the poll has resurrected hope among the people that their country could change.

Tags: Politics, World, Burma, SUU KYI, Election

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