10 Nov 2015

Myanmar ruling party concedes

8:31 am on 10 November 2015

Myanmar's ruling party has conceded defeat in a general election as the opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi appears on course for a landslide victory that could ensure it forms the next government.

The election commission is announcing the results of Sunday's vote as they trickle in, constituency by constituency. Ms Suu Kyi's party won 49 of the first 54 seats declared for the lower house, where 330 seats were contested.

The keenly watched vote is the first openly contested national election in 25 years. The country's long-ruling military ceded power to President Thein Sein's quasi-civilian government in 2011.

The military-backed Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) has been in power since then. USDP acting chairman Htay Oo said the party had lost. "However, we do accept the results without any reservations. We still don't know the final results for sure."

By late afternoon on Monday, vendors outside the headquarters of the NLD in Yangon were selling red T-shirts with Suu Kyi's face and the words "We won".

The NLD said its own tally was that it had won 44 out of Yangon's 45 seats in the lower house, and 70 percent of seats nationally, above the threshold it needs to form a government, but this has not been confirmed.

A quarter of the parliamentary seats are reserved for the army, and for the NLD to have the winning majority it will need at least two-thirds of the contested seats.

More than 6000 candidates from more than 90 parties were vying for 498 seats in both houses of parliament.

But Ms Suu Kyi cannot become president because the constitution bars anyone with foreign children from holding the post. Her two sons, with her late husband, are British.

Earlier, Ms Suu Kyi addressed a crowd at the NLD's headquarters in Yangon, urging them to be patient.

The full results will not be known for at least a few days, and the president will only be chosen in February or possibly later.

- Reuters / BBC

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