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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Democracy wins! Suu Kyi 'bags seat' in landmark Burma poll

Sulaiman Kamal | 2:43 AM | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Poll bid ... Aung San Suu Kyi is greeted by her supporters as she visits polling station

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But it could be weeks before the Government declares official results.

The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate had spent much of the last 20 years imprisoned by them in a lakeside home but was freed from house arrest in November 2010.

It came six days after another discredited election she and her party boycotted.

The latest poll comes after the junta handed power to a civilian government dominated by retired officers last year.

Then, to the surprise of the whole world, President Thein Sein – a former junta general – began striving for reforms and holding talks with opposition groups in a bid to get international sanctions lifted.

But supporters of Suu Kyi, 66, erupted in euphoric cheers outside the National League for Democracy's headquarters in Yangon where they chanted "We won! We won!".

Shopkeeper Thien wore a T-shirt with Suu Kyi's picture on the back.

He said: "It is the people's victory. We have taught them a lesson."

Voters began quietly filing into makeshift polling stations at dawn. And the result came despite reports of continuing voting irregularities - inlcuding claims waxy paper meant people found it hard to make their mark on ballots.

The military originally took power in the former British colony, now known as Myanmar, in a 1962 coup.

But recently hundreds of political prisoners have been freed and peace talks have taken place with ethnic rebels.

Today's by-election was called to fill just 45 vacant seats in Burma's 664-seat national Parliament so the results will not alter the balance of power.

But Suu Kyi hopes she can campaign for change from the inside.

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