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Myanmar’s new president will have no authority, says Suu Kyi

world Updated: Nov 11, 2015 08:23 IST
Myanmar elections

A National League for Democracy (NLD) supporter reacts as others gather beside a large screen showing early election results outside the NLD party office in Mandalay. (AFP Photo)

Myanmar democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi made it clear on Tuesday that she was ready to defy the powerful military’s attempts to clip her wings, as fresh results from Sunday’s historic election showed her party heading for a resounding win.

As vote tallies trickled in, Suu Kyi’s long-oppressed National League for Democracy (NLD) looked set to take control of most regional assemblies as well as forming the central government, a triumph that will reshape the political landscape.

Under the constitution drawn up by Myanmar’s former junta, Suu Kyi is barred by the constitution from taking the presidency because her children are foreign nationals, a clause few doubt was inserted specifically to rule her out.

But in two interviews on Tuesday, the Nobel peace laureate said, whoever was appointed president by the newly-elected houses of Parliament, she would call the shots.

She told the BBC that she would be “making all the decisions as the leader of the winning party” and Channel News Asia that the next president would have “no authority”.

The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which was created by the junta and is led by retired soldiers, has conceded defeat in a poll that was a milestone on Myanmar’s rocky path from dictatorship to democracy.

Read | Myanmar ruling party concedes poll defeat as Suu Kyi heads for landslide

The NLD said its tally of results posted at polling stations showed it was on track to take more than two-thirds of seats that were contested in Parliament, enough to form Myanmar’s first democratically elected government since the early 1960s.

The party would win more than 250 of the 330 seats not occupied by the military in the lower house of Parliament, NLD spokesman Win Htein predicted on Tuesday. Under the junta-crafted constitution, a quarter of the seats are unelected and reserved for the armed forces.

Reuters was not able to independently verify the party’s own estimates of its performance.

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi casts her ballot during general elections in Yangon. (Reuters Photo)

Myanmar in post-poll limbo

Myanmar was trapped in a post-election limbo with official results barely trickling in, although opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party claimed a victory massive enough to give it the presidency and loosen the military’s grip on the country.

In an interview with the BBC, Suu Kyi said her National League for Democracy expects to win 75% of the seats contested in the 664-member two-chamber Parliament.

By Tuesday afternoon, the Union Election Commission had announced results only for 88 lower house seats, giving 78 to the NLD and five to the ruling party from Sunday’s vote. It has given no explanation for the slow results.

Read | What we know so far about the Myanmar elections