Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition National League For Democracy (NLD) party appears to be headed for a landslide victory in Myanmar's historic elections. Myanmar's ruling party conceded defeat after NLD won all 12 of the parliamentary seats declared in the first round of results. The NLD said its own tally of results from polling stations around the country showed it on track to win more than 70% of the seats being contested in parliament, more than the two-thirds it needs to form Myanmar's first democratically elected government since the early 1960s.

A smiling Suu Kyi appeared on the balcony of the NLD's headquarters in Yangon and urged supporters to be patient and wait for the official results.

Myanmar elections
Myanmar's National League For Democracy party leader Aung San Suu Kyi addresses supporters about the general election results in YangonJorge Silva/Reuters
Myanmar elections
Supporters celebrate as they wait in the rain for official results from the Union Election Commission outside NLD head office in YangonSoe Zeya Tun/Reuters

The election is a landmark in Myanmar's unsteady journey to democracy from the military dictatorship that made it a pariah state for so long. Although the election appears to have dealt a decisive defeat to President Thein Sein's Union Solidarity And Development (USDP) party, a period of uncertainty still looms over the country and the election will not create a fully democratic Myanmar.

The constitution reserves 25% of parliamentary seats for unelected members of the military, after an amendment was added to keep Suu Kyi from the presidency, barring anyone with a foreign spouse or child from being president or vice president. Suu Kyi's two sons are British, as was her late husband. Suu Kyi, however, has said she will act as the country's leader if the NLD wins the presidency, saying she will be "above the president".

Pro-democracy supporters are jubilant at the idea of a Suu Kyi victory, and the weakening of a military-backed regime in a country where iron-fisted generals have held sway for half a century. Even some pro-government voters have hailed the general election, if only in the hope that a new government will bring improvement to their lives in one of the world's most impoverished nations.

Myanmar elections
A child joins supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi at a rally outside the NLD party headquarters in YangonJorge Silva/Reuters
Myanmar elections
NLD supporters celebrate as they watch election results come in outside party offices in MandalayOlivia Harris/Reuters
Myanmar elections
Supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi gather to watch election results outside NLD headquarters in YangonSoe Zeya Tun/Reuters
Myanmar elections
Supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi watch election results come in outside NLD offices in MandalayOlivia Harris/Reuters
Myanmar elections
A boy carries a bust depicting Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi as election results are shown on a TV outside NLD party headquarters in YangonSoe Zeya Tun/Reuters
Myanmar elections
A taxi driver reads a newspaper as he waits for customers in YangonNicolas Asfouri/AFP
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A woman holds a phone to her friend's ear at an NLD rally in YangonLauren DeCicca/Getty Images
Myanmar elections
NLD supporters cheer as election results come inLam Yik Fei/Getty Images
Myanmar elections
A man wears a red flag as people take part in a rally outside the NLD office in YangonLam Yik Fei/Getty Images

The junta, which seized power in a 1962 coup, annulled the results when Suu Kyi's party won a sweeping victory in the 1990 elections. She spent most of the next 20 years under house arrest before her release in 2010.

A new vote was held in 2010, but the opposition boycotted it, saying the election laws were unfair. The USDP won by default and took office in 2011 under President Thein Sein, a former general, who began political and economic reforms to end Myanmar's isolation and jump-start its economy. The economic reforms that were introduced brought mobile phones, social media and many material things into the lives of people – especially the young. Many believe they will keep the country going forward and not back into isolation.

Myanmar elections
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Myanmar elections
Jorge Silva/Reuters
Myanmar elections
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Myanmar elections
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Myanmar elections
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Myanmar elections
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Myanmar elections
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Myanmar elections
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Myanmar elections
A bus driver cheers as he passes supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi outside National League for Democracy headquarters in YangonJorge Silva/Reuters
Myanmar elections
A bus driver cheers as he passes supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi outside National League for Democracy headquarters in YangonJorge Silva/Reuters

"Dawn of a new era. Millions vote in historic election," was the banner headline of the New Light of Myanmar, a government-owned newspaper and long a mouthpiece for ruling juntas, reflecting just how much Myanmar has changed.