Nobel Peace Prize winner and leader of Burma’s National League for Democracy (NLD) Aung San Suu Kyi has won a landslide in the first democratic elections held in Burma, which is also known as Myanmar, in 25 years.
The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) concede shortly after the results started pouring in that they had lost the election.
“We lost,” said Htay Oo, acting chairman of the USDP.
The USDP took power after the military junta that ruled Myanmar nullified an NLD victory in the 1990 elections.
The same junta also placed NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi in house arrest for nearly 15 years.
By the NLD’s calculations, they have won 70 percent of the vote, more than enough to take power as the first democratically elected government in Burma since the 1960s.
“They must accept the results, even though they don’t want to,” said NLD spokesman Win Htein.
Even though the NLD have won this election, their leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not be the President of the country.
Under the current constitution written by the military junta Suu Kyi is barred from the office because her two sons hold British passports.
She has declared however, that she will be the power behind the presidency, even if she cannot take the office herself.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry applauded the election as an important step forward.
“Millions of people from around the country, many of whom were voting for the first time, seized this opportunity to move one step closer to a democracy that respects the rights of all — a testament to the courage and sacrifice shown by the people of Myanmar over many decades,” he said in a statement.
Kerry did note however, that the situation in Myanmar is not yet perfect and there are some anti-democratic systems still in place that need to be over come.
For instance, the military is granted 25 percent of the seats in the parliament of Myanmar automatically according to the constitution.
[BBC] [CNN] [Reuters]