On November 8, an estimated 33 million people in Myanmar came out to vote in the first open general elections in 25 years. Lauded by international observers and foreign governments as largely open and transparent, the elections are expected to yield a decisive victory for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who believes her National League for Democracy (NLD) has already secured at least 380 seats across both houses of government – enough to form a government and choose a president. Although the constitution prevents her from serving as president, Suu Kyi has repeatedly said she would find a way to run the country in the event of a win.
Having achieved similar results in the 1990 general elections – an election that was discounted by the ruling junta government – the political landscape in Myanmar today is far different, with a quasi-civilian government at the helm that has promised and thus far delivered on sweeping reforms to integrate Myanmar with the world.
The official results of the historic elections have slowly trickled in this week, and although Thein Sein effectively conceded the election on Wednesday, the final result is unknown. That has not stopped NLD supporters or “The Lady” herself from gathering to celebrate the milestone occasion.