NLD seeks to form unity govt


Victorious times: NLD supporters watching a traditional elephant dance as they celebrate the party’s win in front of its headquarters in Yangon. — AFP

The country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling party says it will seek to form a government of national unity after official election results showed that it had comfortably won enough parliamentary seats to form the next administration.

The latest batch of results on Friday from last Sunday’s vote confirmed that Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) had secured the 322 seats in the bicameral legislature needed to form a government.

The NLD has taken 368 seats of the 434 seats that have been declared, with results from 42 more yet to be announced.

NLD spokesperson Monywa Aung Shin said the “landslide” win showed that the people still had faith in Suu Kyi’s leadership.

“But we have to work on forming a national unity government, ” said Monywa Aung Shin, noting how the NLD had invited 39 ethnic minority parties to work with it.

Myanmar has seen insurgencies by autonomy-seeking guerrilla forces since shortly after its independence from Britain in 1948, and Suu Kyi’s government has been trying to conclude peace efforts, though progress has been patchy and violence has flared in some areas.

Ethnic minority political parties have been competing for seats in the national parliament as well as in their state assemblies.

The NLD’s comfortable win will be a welcome boost for Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate who has had a turbulent first term and struggled to meet high public expectations.

She is tasked with developing a country that suffered nearly 50 years of isolation and decay under strict military rule, years of which she was held under house arrest.

Even now, her government is required to govern with military involvement, in particular in the areas of security and defence, under a constitution drafted during the generals’ rule.

The NLD won by a similar margin in the last election in 2015, the first free vote since the end of military rule.

This time, the ballot was seen as a referendum on Suu Kyi’s government, which is hugely popular at home.

But its reputation abroad has collapsed due to accusations of genocide against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority, which it denies.

The main opposition party, the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), had won 24 seats, according to the partial official results.

The USDP raised objections on Wednesday and demanded a new vote as soon as possible “in order to have an election that is free, fair, unbiased and free from unfair campaigning”.

International and domestic observers said the vote went smoothly and without major irregularities.

The election commission on Wednesday said any allegations of irregularities were from a minority of participants. — Reuters

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