We must listen to witnesses on the ground who are seeing abuse, duplicity, and the dereliction of duty firsthand. Our lives depend on their voices being heard. The op-ed by Sean Thomas, International Director of Investigations at Animal Equality.
Myanmar has held landmark elections. And Aung San Suu Kyi is ahead of the race
Myanmar went to the polls on the 8th of November. As it stands Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD is winning and the ruling party has conceded it will accept the results, whatever they turn out to be.
A day after Myanmar’s elections, held on the 8th of November, the Union Election Commission (UEC) is slowly announcing the preliminary results as they are being counted. So far Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) has seen a strong start, winning 35 out of the first 36 seats declared for the Yangon region, the economic centre of the country.
After being counted in tens of thousands of polling stations across the country, results are sent to the UEC, which announces them in rounds every few hours. The counting process is going to last for days, with the official and final results due to be released on the 22nd of November.
Jubilant crowds of supporters have been gathering all day on the 9th of November in front of the opposition party’s headquarters, cheering as the new results are released. Even if nothing is official yet, Aung San Suu Kyi, nicknamed the Lady, hinted at an NLD victory on the morning of the 9th of November. “It is still a bit early to congratulate our candidates who will be the winners”, she said. “I want to remind you all that even candidates who didn’t win have to accept the winners but it is important not to provoke the candidates who didn’t win to make them feel bad”, she continued.
A spokesman for the NLD told AFP News that the party is on course to win more that 70% of seats around the country. With a first-past-the-post electoral system (the candidate with the highest number of votes in a given constituency wins the seat) and 25% of parliamentary seats reserved to the military, the NLD needs 67% of available seats to enjoy a majority. Even though Aung San Suu Kyi can’t become president due to the constitution banning candidates with foreign relatives, she has already announced that, should her party win, she will be the real source of power governing from behind the scenes.
The ruling party’s acting chairman Htay Oo conceded this afternoon that his Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has lost more seats than it gained, and assured that the current government will accept any outcome, in what so far seems has been a peaceful election.
On the 10th of November the European Union’s Election Observation Mission announced that it considers the voting process to have been very positive and described the ongoing counting process as “transparent”. However, it also highlighted areas of improvement, including increasing the number of female and Muslim candidates. In addition, some complaints were raised on the day of the elections, including voters reporting that they were unable to vote because they weren’t registered to the electoral roll. Many others were excluded from expressing their preference in the elections, including hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority, and the inhabitants of several ethnic areas in conflict-torn townships.
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