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HomeWorldSuu Kyi’s party claims majority as Myanmar vote count progresses

Suu Kyi’s party claims majority as Myanmar vote count progresses

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy is on course to win about 390 seats to the national assembly, according to Myo Nyunt, a member of the party’s chief executive committee.

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Myanmar: Myanmar’s ruling party led by Aung San Suu Kyi said it had won enough parliamentary seats to retain power in the country’s second election since the end of military rule almost a decade ago.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy is on course to win about 390 seats to the national assembly, according to Myo Nyunt, a member of the party’s chief executive committee. While voting was held for the 476 civilian seats in the 664-member joint house, the Union Election Commission has so far announced results only for three parliamentary seats, all won by the ruling party.

The nation’s de facto leader retained her seat in the lower house from Yangon township by a landslide, according to local media. President Win Myint, Vice President Henry Van Htio and ruling party senior leader May Win Myint were also among early winners, according to election commission officials.

Another five-year term will allow Suu Kyi and her government to fulfill their pledges to revive the economy and ensure internal peace. The country’s first civilian-led government in more than five decades has delivered on some reforms, including liberalization of the banking, insurance and education sectors and curbing inflation.

The challenges awaiting Suu Kyi include a rampant coronavirus outbreak and the need to raise the living standards for about a third of the population who remain in poverty. Businesses remain mired in red tape, and accusations of genocide against the country’s Muslim Rohingya population are still a concern for foreign investors.

Economic revival

“Our first priority is to make our economy revive and then minimize the impact of Covid-19,” Myo Nyunt said by phone Monday. “We will also prioritize on ethnic affairs and internal peace as well as the formation of a constitution that will lead to truly democratic federal union. We hope our economy will grow in the next five years.”

Myanmar went to the polls amid a surging epidemic, with the Union Election Commission pledging that preventive measures at the polling stations would minimize voters’ risks of getting infected.

About 37.3 million people were eligible to vote in the election, where 5,639 candidates from 87 political parties vied for 1,117 seats at the central parliament and regional assemblies, according to the commission. The military, known as Tatmadaw, takes 25% of all seats at the national legislature and provincial assemblies, according to the 2008 Constitution.

The voter turnout was almost 85%, according to Aye Lwin, a member of NLD’s economic committee.

While the NLD won a total of 887 seats in the 2015 election, analysts predicted a smaller victory this time as parties formed along ethnic lines garner more support. But Myo Nyunt said the ruling party may win about 80% of the seats it contested, more than the 70% it won in 2015.

“Ethnic parties are stronger than ever before,” and the chief ministers of some states have become less popular because of their performance, said Nang Raw Zahkung, director of policy and strategy at Nyein (Shalom) Foundation. “It will end up splitting the vote” among people of different ethnicities, she said.

Investors predict Myanmar’s economy will face strong headwinds in the short term because of the impact of Covid-19, even as longer-term prospects remain positive.

“The next five years are very crucial years for Myanmar’s economic transformation, and the next government needs to make the right moves,” said Lim Chong Chong, founder of Ascent Capital Partners which launched Singapore’s first Myanmar-focused fund. The next government should prioritize improving power generation and logistics infrastructure, digitalization and human capital development, he said. -Bloomberg


Also read: Why 1.5 million won’t vote when Myanmar holds its 2nd election since end of military rule


 

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