A screen grab from MRTV of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi with Myanmar president Thein Sein during a one hour meeting in August 2011.
A screen grab from MRTV of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi with Myanmar president Thein Sein during a one hour meeting in August 2011. MRTV/AP
Myanmar president Thein Sein issued quiet praise today for his country's weekend vote, which saw the opposition National League for Democracy win as many as 43 of 44 contested parliamentary seats. NLD head Aung San Suu Kyi won her own election and is a lawmaker-to-be; it's a change from her previous status, which was nearly continuous house arrest for about 15 years.
Thein Sein, a former military ruler of Myanmar, also known as Burma, said the balloting was "conducted in a very successful way", says the Telegraph.
His remarks are worth noting, given that nearly every military backed candidate lost. And NPR's Anthony Kuhn points out the opposition NLD even won in the capital; that means government paid workers living there also backed Suu Kyi's party.
Thein Sein is in Cambodia meeting with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; following the election, ASEAN wants sanctions lifted against Myanmar, according to AFP.
The Myanmar opposition will control a small number of the 664 Myanmar parliamentary seats, but an aide to Thein Sein told the Telegraph the president believes opposition lawmakers will lead to better policy debates and a more active parliament. Critics worry the dissent will be enough to prompt military hardliners to roll back new democratic reforms.
Suu Kyi is not speaking much publicly, other than to tell NLD victors to be graceful winners. Last week she feared Sunday's election would not be free or fair, citing voting irregularities and reports of intimidation.
Now that it's over, there's one disagreement over the number of seats won by Suu Kyi's party: the NLD says it won 43 of 44 seats, while the Myanmar government says it won 40 seats.