European Union observers said on Tuesday (10 November) that Myanmar's elections at the weekend went "better than expected" but warned more needed to be done for "genuine" elections to take place in the future. Fresh results from Myanmar's election on Tuesday showed the opposition taking control of most regional assemblies, as well as forming the next government, handing democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi sweeping powers to reshape the political landscape.
"The process went better than many expected beforehand. It is also true, however, that more is needed, more reforms are needed to ensure that truly genuine elections can take place in the future," EU Chief Observer Alexander Graf Lambsdorff told reporters in Yangon.
"European Union Election Observation Missions do not using the terms 'free and fair' because it is not quite clear how much goes into an election. We use the terms a 'genuine' election, a 'credible' election and a 'transparent' election," he added.
The ruling party, which was created by the country's former junta and is led by retired military officers, conceded defeat on Monday (9 November) in an election that was a major milestone on Myanmar's rocky path from dictatorship to democracy. But results dribbled out by the election commission have shown that their Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) was not just beaten in the polls, it was trounced. The EU monitors said, however, that the polls were not without problems.
"We've found that the process for candidate nominations and verification of candidacies was applied in a way that, as a result, had a very, very, very low number of Muslim candidates remaining. We also believe that, for the future, the parties will be well-advised to increase the participation for women in the political life of the country," said Graf Lambsdorff.
The election commission said the NLD won 49 of the 54 seats declared so far for the 440-strong lower house, where – under the constitution drawn up by the former junta – a quarter of the seats are unelected and reserved for the military.
"Counting of the out-of-constituency advance voting is taking place at the township level and we will continue to follow that. We believe that having such a part of the process that is intransparent is something that should be changed in the future," added Graf Lambsdorff.
Although the USDP has been cut down and much of the establishment shaken by the extent of Suu Kyi's victory, the army remains a formidable power.
In addition to its guaranteed bloc of parliament's seats, the commander-in-chief nominates the heads of three powerful and big-budget ministries − interior, defence and border security − and the constitution also gives him the right to take over the government under certain circumstances.