MYANMAR, Nov 8 – Polls have opened in Myanmar’s general election after the first openly contested poll in 25 years after decades of military rule. The ruling Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP), backed by the military, is one of the frontrunners.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) is expected to make big gains, though she is barred from the presidency. The current president said the authorities would respect poll results. In the meantime, President Thein Sein also said on Friday that he will accept the new government formed, based on the election result.
About 30 million people are eligible to vote in the election in Myanmar which also known as Burma. Meanwhile, the clear results are not expected until Monday morning. More than 6,000 candidates from 93 political parties are running for 1,142 seats in the national, regional, and state parliaments of Myanmar.
This will be the country’s first general election since 2010, when the current government came into power in a vote that was criticized by Western governments as being neither free nor fair. However, about 25 per cent of the seats in the national parliament are reserved for military representatives appointed by the Commander-in-Chief, leaving 498 seats up for election. The 664-seat national parliament will elect the President.
Ms Suu Kyi, a former Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is barred from the presidency as the constitution disqualifies anyone with foreign offspring. On Thursday, she also said she would be “above the president” if her party won. The NLD must take 67% of all contested seats in order to gain a majority.
PHOTO SOURCE: EPA