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Myanmar elections: Secret handover talks already underway

Yangon:  Myanmar’s ruling military-backed party has suffered a massive rout in opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s electoral victory that claimed the scalps of some of the country’s top officials.

The scale of the victory has stunned the Union Solidarity Development Party which has been decimated in a mass swing to Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.

Amid high tensions across the country of 52 million people NLD officials are urging Ms Suu Kyi’s millions of supporters not to provoke their rivals ahead of the release of final vote tallies.

NLD officials have already held secret talks with the country’s powerful and entrenched military about a transfer of power, sources say.

Despite an army junta refusing to accept a landslide win by the NLD in 1990, the military has shown no signs that it would not honour the results of Sunday’s elections.

Voters threw out of office a string of ruling party heavyweights, including former generals, revealing widespread dissatisfaction with the party that claimed credit for ending 50 years of isolation under military rule and implementing wide-ranging social and economic reforms since 2011.

They include Htay Oo, the party chairman and Shwe Mann, the influential speaker of parliament and presidential hopeful.

“People voted for us because they believe we can bring hope and change for them,” said Khin Maung Yi, the NLD candidate who defeated Mr Htay Oo.

Voters ousted cabinet minister Aung Min, the government’s chief negotiator in ethnic group peace talks.

Also ousted was Aye Maung, leader of the Arakan National Party in Arakan (Rakhine) state, a party that has been  stirring up anti-Muslim sentiments toward the Rohingya minority.

One of the biggest surprises of the election was a mass swing to Ms Suu in ethnic minority areas.

NLD officials are in deep discussions about the make-up of what Ms Suu Kyi has called a “government of national reconciliation”.

Although it appears likely the NLD will win at least 67 percent of seats, party officials have indicated they intend to bring other parties into a ruling alliance.

Talks are underway between the NLD and leading ethnic minority parties, including the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy.

Ms Suu Kyi has not appeared in public since making brief comments on Monday to jubilant supporters at the NLD’s ramshackle headquarters in Yangon, the country’s biggest city.

She has told party officials to keep a low profile until official results are released.

Note: Changes have been made, The Sydney Morning Herald is not responsible for these.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald