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Iran Press TV

Myanmar's ruling party concedes defeat in parliamentary polls

Iran Press TV

Mon Nov 9, 2015 6:57AM

The acting chairman of Myanmar's ruling Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP) has conceded defeat in parliamentary elections to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD).

In an interview with Reuters on Monday, Htay Oo said he accepts the results of the country's first free national elections in 25 years.

"We lost," Oo said, adding that he did not expect to be defeated "because we were able to do a lot for the people in this region."

'However, we do accept the results without any reservations," he said. "Anyway, it's the decision of the people."

Although final results have not yet been officially announced, preliminary reports show a wide margin of victory for the opposition.

According to the country's election commission, the opposition NLD won 15 out of the 16 seats in the first results from Sunday's elections. This includes 12 Yangon city electorates in Myanmar's 323-seat lower house of parliament.

Even if Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, receives the majority of the parliament's 664 seats, she cannot assume the position of presidency as she is barred under the constitution, which was written by the military junta.

However, Suu Kyi has said she would be the leading force behind the president. Despite the deafeat, the ruling military junta will still retain considerable power in the country.

Myanmar has been ruled by the military-backed USDP since 2011.

The landmark election came while Muslim candidates were barred from taking part in the election and the country's persecuted minority Rohingya Muslims were also deprived of the right to vote.

Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims, mostly living in the western state of Rakhine, have been subject to systematic repression by extremist Buddhists since the country's independence in 1948.

'No improvement for Rohingyas'

In an interview with Press TV's Website, international lawyer Barry Grossman warned that the victory of Myanmar's opposition in the parliamentary elections will not mark an improvement in the situation of the Rohingya Muslims in the country.

"There has been no reason whatsoever to assume that Aung San Suu Kyi is any less hostile to Myanmar's indigenous Muslims than the military-backed government led by President Thein Sein," Grossman said.

He accused Myanmar's Buddhist majority of treating the country's Muslims in a manner similar to Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

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