Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has won an outright majority in the landmark elections held in Myanmar recently, and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) has secured the mandate to appoint a new president. The election win by the pro-democracy party puts an end to the junta's decades-long dominance in the country.
Although the NLD has been claiming victory by a massive margin ever since preliminary results began to emerge, the scale of its win remained uncertain until Myanmar's election commission announced the official results on Friday, 13 November. According to the Union Election Commission (UEC), Suu Kyi's party has won 348 seats across both houses of parliament, meaning its lawmakers have absolute majority to appoint the president.
The party required 328 seats for an outright majority as 25% of the seats were reserved for military representatives. NLD is likely to garner more seats as 17% of the results are yet to be announced.
The election results are a clear rejection of the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and decades-long military rule. In 1990, a similar triumph by NLD in the elections was swiftly rejected by the military rulers, and hence questions over the willingness of the outgoing leaders to concede defeat lingers.
Nonetheless, a statement from the presidential office read: "On behalf of the state and all citizens, we would like to express special thanks to all dutiful citizens who cast their votes, the Union Election Commission and sub-commissions, military units, departments, security members, polling staff, special police, domestic and foreign observers, political parties and candidates.
Myanmar's commander-in-chief of the army, Aung Hlaing has also congratulated Suu Kyi on her election victory. Meanwhile, members of various armed ethnic groups have called on Suu Kyi and asked her to prioritise peace in the southeast Asian nation, torn by bloody violence for the past six decades.
After wishing Suu Kyi on her election win, Sai Hla of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) said: "We have high expectations that she will drive the process better [than the government]. She needs to show us what she promised. It is necessary that any government in power is willing to understand the ethnic conflict and cooperate with ethnic organisations. They should have sympathy towards ethnics. Otherwise, the problem will never end."
The polling held on 8 November was billed as the first free and fair elections in Myanmar in 25 years.