Friday, September 8, 2006

Myanmar election: Vote counting starts after landmark poll

Votes are being counted in Myanmar's first openly contested national election for 25 years.
Turnout is thought to have been 80% - seen as a further big step away from decades of military rule.
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) is expected to win the most parliamentary seats, although she is barred from the presidency.
The military-backed Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) has been in power since 2011.
Voting was generally smooth, observers say, with some isolated irregularities.
Crowds of excited supporters appeared outside NLD headquarters in Yangon as darkness fell, apparently expecting the hear results. Instead a party official read out a message urging them to calmly wait at home.
The first official results are expected to be issued from 09:00 local time (15:30 GMT) on Monday.

BBC reporters in Myanmar on Twitter:

As polls opened on Sunday, long queues formed at some polling booths, with reports of people waiting from before dawn.
Smiling voters emerged after casting their ballots, some displaying fingers stained with purple - the official sign that they had voted.
"When I cast my vote I was very excited and so worried that I might do something wrong that my hands were shaking," said Kay Khine Soe, in Ms Suu Kyi's Kawhmu constituency.
Voting in Yangon, Wuhan Datong said: "I am 57 years old. I never participated in the previous voting since I had doubts over it. But the election this time is fair. So I have come to vote."
About 30 million people were eligible to vote in the election in Myanmar, also known as Burma.
More than 6,000 candidates from over 90 parties vied to be elected to the 664-seat parliament in the first national elections since a nominally civilian government took power in 2011.
However, 25% of seats are reserved for unelected military representatives, who are expected to side with the USDP.