Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has indicated that her National League for Democracy (NLD) has likely won Sunday’s national elections by a landslide, with current projections giving the pro-democracy party around 70% of votes cast.
According to the Associated Press, the 70-year-old former political prisoner told a crowd of supporters “I think you all have the idea of the results.” However, she also cautioned: “It is still a bit early to congratulate our candidates who will be the winners.”
Sunday’s ballot is shaping up to be the freest election Burma (officially known as Myanmar) has seen since 1990, when the NLD won a huge majority only for the then junta to annul the result. Suu Kyi has spent most of the intervening years under house arrest.
Htay Oo, chairman of the ruling military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, which is stacked with former junta generals, told local news service Democratic Voice of Burma on Sunday that his party was heading for a loss.
“Nationwide, we won in some regions, states and divisions, but also lost in some others,” he said. “We have higher percentage of losses than wins.”
Although the NLD seems destined to gain the majority of votes, several obstacles remain to the party taking power. Suu Kyi remains personally barred from the presidency (because her late husband and two sons are foreign nationals), while a quarter of legislative seats are reserved for the armed forces, giving the powerful military an effective veto over constitutional amendments. The heads of certain key ministries — Home, Defense and Border Affairs — must also be military appointees.
The first indications of official results are expected around 6 p.m. local time on Monday.