Sunday 25 August 2019

Barack Obama congratulates Aung San Suu Kyi on historic Burma election win

Aung San Suu Kyi's party is on the verge of victory (AP)
Aung San Suu Kyi's party is on the verge of victory (AP)
Police officers read a copy of the newspaper Democracy Today in Yangon (AP)

US president Barack Obama has congratulated Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for the success of her party in the country's historic elections.

Ms Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy (NDL), is on the verge of victory with results from Sunday's parliamentary elections still coming in.

According to the latest results from the country's election commission, the NDL needs 38 more seats to acquire a majority in the 664-member, two-house parliament.

Elections were not held in seven constituencies, meaning a simple majority can be reached at 329 seats. The party has so far won 196 seats in the lower house and 95 in the upper house for a total of 291.

Mr Obama spoke to Ms Suu Kyi on the phone on Wednesday night and commended her for "her tireless efforts and sacrifice over so many years" to promote a peaceful, democratic Burma, the White House said.

The two talked about the importance of all parties respecting the election results once they are announced.

Mr Obama also called President Thein Sein to congratulate Burma on its success in conducting the election and the importance of respecting the outcome.

The former general has led Burma's military-backed government for five years.

China also praised the conduct of the election and pledged to maintain friendly relations, even while refraining to comment on the outcome.

"As Burma's friendly neighbour, China feels delighted and welcomes this smooth ending," Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

He added: "We are willing to work with Burma to maintain stability in the border area."

Burma's transition to democracy seemingly caught China by surprise, but Beijing has sought to recover by reaching out to the opposition.

The ruling Communist Party hosted Aung San Suu Kyi in June, when she met with China's president and party leader, Xi Jinping, in a sign of Beijing's willingness to adapt to the changing political landscape.

China is primarily concerned with resuming the stalled Myitsone dam project in northern Burma, as well as stability along the border where Kokang rebels have battled Burmese government troops.

PA Media

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