The party of democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi has won a majority in Myanmar’s parliament, the election commission said on Friday, giving it enough seats to elect its chosen candidate to the presidency when the new legislature convenes next year. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) had been expected take control of parliament since Sunday’s nationwide vote, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. President Barack Obama had already congratulated her on a landmark victory in the country’s first free election in 25 years. Obama and Ban also praised Myanmar President Thein Sein for successfully staging the historic poll, with the UN chief acknowledging his “courage and vision” to organise an election in which the ruling camp was trounced. Results have been trickling in since the weekend, and on Friday the election commission announced the latest batch of seats that pushed the NLD over the threshold to secure an absolute majority in parliament.
The triumph of the charismatic Nobel peace prize laureate sweeps out an old guard of former generals that has run Myanmar, also known as Burma, since Thein Sein ushered in a raft of democratic and economic reforms four years ago.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes noted broad participation by Myanmar’s people and a commitment by its rulers to abide by the result.
“This is in many ways a momentous opportunity for thepeople of Burma,” Rhodes said. “We had been very focused on this election. It is a critical milestone in evaluating Burma’s democratic transition.”