NLD sweeps Yangon in initial vote count

NAY PYI TAW — The National League for Democracy opposition party swept 15 out of 16 contested seats in Yangon Region, election officials announced Monday, in the first official results for Sunday’s polls.

Union Election Commission chair U Tin Aye said initial results showed the NLD had won all 12 contested seats for the lower house of the Union parliament and three of four seats in the Yangon regional assembly.

Some 33.5 million Myanmar people were eligible to vote in the polls Sunday to elect representatives to the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament as well as to state and regional assemblies. The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party won only one seat in the Yangon regional assembly.

“The elections were satisfactory and peaceful,” U Tin Aye said. “There were 48 cases of election fraud, involving fake ballots and faulty ballots,” he said.

The NLD is widely expected to achieve a convincing victory in the polls, but there are concerns that the military-backed USDP will not accept defeat gracefully.

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Opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday urged NLD supporters and candidates to remain “calm” and exercise caution in the aftermath of the party’s apparent election victory.

“I believe you all know that we need to be cautious and to stay calm to move forward, ” Daw Aung San Kyi told hundreds of people who had gathered outside NLD headquarters in Yangon to celebrate the opposition party’s apparent convincing victory in Sunday’s general election. “One can never be over-cautious,” she said.

Initial vote counts indicate a resounding triumph for the NLD and a humiliating defeat for the pro-military USDP.

“I cannot say much now because official results have not yet come out,” Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said. “What I want to say is stay calm and peaceful.” 
Several senior USDP candidates such as Lower House Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann and USDP chairman U Htay Oo, have lost in their respective constituencies, show preliminary tallies at polling stations.

The USDP, which was created by the former ruling junta, won the 2010 elections that were boycotted by the NLD.

Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest during the 2010 polls and was released six days after the election.

A landmark meeting between President U Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011 paved the way for the NLD to return to the political area and in by-elections in 2012 the party won 43 of the 44 seats it contested.

The party won more than 80 percent of the seats in the 1990 election but was blocked from power.

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