Suu Kyi wins landmark Myanmar by-polls (Roundup)

April 1st, 2012 - 10:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Yangon, April 1 (IANS) Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi Sunday scored a momentous victory following a decades-long fight for democracy by winning a parliamentary by-poll for a seat in Myanmar’s lower house.

The 66-year-old Suu Kyi — chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party — won 75 percent of the ballot in Kawhmu Township constituency near Yangon, Xinhua reported.

A total of 157 candidates from 17 parties contested the polls for 45 vacant seats in nine regions.

Over 150 observers from the European Union, the US, Canada, Australia, India and Asean monitored the exercise.

The result was made available a few hours after polling closed at 4 p.m., with votes counted in the presence of the candidates’ election agents and 10 witnesses from the public.

Several hundreds of people were waiting at the NLD headquarters to celebrate the news, party spokesman Nyan Win told CNN.

The chairman of the Yangon region of the election commission said that official results may be known by Monday.

Suu Kyi had won by a landslide the last time Myanmar held elections in 1990, but the junta ignored the results and placed her under house arrest.

Released in November 2010, Suu Kyi was allowed to crisscross the country to rally support for the NLD for Sunday’s polls.

The government promised the vote would be free and fair and allowed international observers to monitor the polling.

Suu Kyi alleged there had been voting irregularities, illegal activities and intimidation either committed or encouraged by official entities.

The NLD spokesman told CNN the party received more than 50 reports of voting irregularities.

In one area, ballot sheets had wax placed over the check box for the NLD, making it easier to erase the mark later and annul the vote, he said. In another area, ballots that had already been filled out were found, he said.

Election Comission Chairman Tin Aye said he hoped the elections were fair but could not speak about the allegations. “It’s too soon to say,” he said.

Myanmar’s legislature has 664 seats, more than 80 percent of which are still held by MPs aligned with the military-backed ruling party, Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

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