YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Myanmar’s ruling National League for Democracy party said on Monday it had won enough seats in parliament to form an absolute majority and hold on to power. He made the claim even though the State Union Election Commission has yet to release the full results of Sunday’s election.
“I can now confirm that we now get over 322 seats,” said Monywa Aung Shin, spokesperson for the NLD information committee. There are 642 seats in Parliament.
“We were aiming to secure 377 seats in total. But it would probably be more than that, ”said Monywa Aung Shin.
There were no reliable official figures available on voter turnout, and the Union Election Commission said earlier it might take up to a week to release full results. As of 8 p.m. Monday evening, he announced the names of just nine candidates who had won seats in the national parliament, all of them from the NLD.
Yway Mal, an independent counting service, said the NLD won 64 seats and its main opponent, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, won seven.
The People’s Alliance for Credible Elections – PACE – one of Myanmar’s largest poll monitoring organizations, said that in nearly a third of the polling stations it monitored, a small number of people did not were unable to vote because their names were not on the voting list.
But the group described the election day vote as peaceful and said no major incidents had been recorded.
A victory for the NLD was widely expected, although it was speculated that the deterioration of its relations with minority ethnic parties, with which it had cooperated in the last elections in 2015, could reduce its totals.
Much of the NLD’s appeal rests on the popularity of its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who became the head of government with the title of State Councilor after the 2015 polls.
His administration’s record has been mixed at best, with economic growth below expectations and endless decades-old armed conflicts with ethnic minorities seeking greater autonomy.
But among her compatriots, she has managed to retain the appeal she has built during decades of fighting for democracy against the military dictatorships that came before her.
Outside Myanmar, his reputation has plunged in response to his failure to defend the human rights of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. Her foreign supporters were shocked that she had done nothing against the Myanmar army’s brutal counterinsurgency campaign in 2017 that forced an estimated 740,000 Rohingya to flee across the border into neighboring Bangladesh.
But the issue was of little concern to most voters, due to deep-rooted prejudices against the Rohingya, who many see as illegal immigrants from South Asia while their families have lived in Myanmar for generations. Few have citizenship or civil rights, including the right to vote.
Over the past few months, Suu Kyi has projected a strong image of leadership in state media and in live social media appearances as Myanmar battles a surge in coronavirus infections.
At the same time, much of the traditional campaigns, such as mass rallies, have been held back by restrictions imposed to control the spread of the virus.
More than 90 parties contested the elections and 37 million people were able to vote, including 5 million voters for the first time.
Suu Kyi’s NLD in 2015 won a landslide victory, giving it an absolute majority and ending more than five decades of army-led rule.
His government has drawn criticism from rights groups for the way it conducted the election, with a focus on depriving the Rohingya minority of the right to vote.
“A fundamental principle of elections under international law is universal and equal suffrage and that is not what happened yesterday,” Ismail Wolff, regional director of Fortify Rights, said in a statement on Monday. “The international community must unequivocally condemn the denial of the right to vote of the Rohingya and other ethnic nationalities or risk paving the way for future violations.”
“Other concerns include the government’s continued crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, including the arbitrary arrest and detention of civil society actors and activists,” the group said. .