Myanmar ruling party concedes as Suu Kyi heads for landslide

November 10, 2015 07:29
Supporters of the National League for Democracy celebrate at the party's headquarters in Yangon on Monday. Photo: Reuters

Myanmar's ruling party conceded defeat in a general election as the opposition led by democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi appeared on course for a landslide victory.

"We lost," Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) acting chairman Htay Oo told Reuters on Monday, a day after the Southeast Asian country's first free nationwide election in a quarter of a century.

By late afternoon on Monday, vendors outside the headquarters of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in the commercial capital Yangon were selling red T-shirts with Suu Kyi's face and the words "We won", the report said.

Suu Kyi's party won 49 of the first 54 seats declared for the lower house, where 330 seats were contested.

Washington welcomed the election as a victory for Myanmar's people but said it would watch for the democratic process to move forward before making any adjustments to US sanctions.

The vote was Myanmar's first general election since its long-ruling military ceded power to President Thein Sein's quasi-civilian government in 2011, ushering in a period of reform and opening up to foreign investment.

The NLD said its own tally of results posted at polling stations around the country showed it was on track to win more than 70 percent of the seats being contested in parliament, above the two-thirds threshold it needs to form Myanmar's first democratically elected government since the early 1960s.

"They must accept the results, even though they don't want to," NLD spokesman Win Htein told Reuters, adding that in the populous central region, the Nobel peace laureate's party looked set to take more than 90 percent of seats.

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Aung San Suu Kyi thanks supporters in Yangon. Photo: Reuters