Connecting Regions of Asia.

NLD Forecast To Triumph In Myanmar Election

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Vote counting continued late into the night in Myanmar after an election Sunday that is expected to return to power the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Several hundred ardent supporters ignored coronavirus warnings and gathered in a premature celebration, dancing, singing and waving flags outside the Yangon headquarters of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD).
Overall results, however, will not be clear for another few days.
The election is just the second since the Southeast Asian nation emerged from nearly half a century of military rule in 2011.
Five years ago, the NLD won a landslide victory but was forced by the constitution into an uneasy power-sharing agreement with the still-mighty military.
This time, the civilian leader — in a bid to maintain an absolute majority — implored citizens to overcome their coronavirus fears to turn out and cast their ballots.
Millions lined up outside polling stations before the sun had even risen, while others waited for hours in the heat to enter temples, shopping centres and offices to vote.
In Mandalay — Myanmar’s second-largest city and a hotspot for infections — people crowded into a polling station outside the city’s ancient palace. 
“I have my concerns” about the lack of social distancing, schoolteacher Hnin Wut Yee, 23, told AFP. “We’re all watching each other with suspicion.”
Voters across the country wore compulsory face masks at polling stations, but many venues saw crowds bunching together in their eagerness to vote.
Coronavirus cases have spiralled upwards in recent months, sending swathes of the country into lockdown and largely forcing campaigns online.
“We’ll happily go to hospital for an NLD victory!” first-time voter Thazin Swe, 25, told AFP, as she danced into the evening with her family, all dressed in NLD red and waving party flags.
© AFP

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