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Burma's opposition claimed a historic victory as pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi won her first bid for a seat in parliament, sparking scenes of jubilation among supporters.

The Nobel laureate won an estimated 82 per cent of the vote in a by-election in the constituency of Kawhmu, south of Rangoon, according to the National League of Democracy (NLD).

Thousands of people took to the streets after the vote, singing, dancing and cheering for Ms Suu Kyi and members of the NLD who were elected.

The results have not been officially verified, but it looks clear that Ms Suu Kyi won in a landslide in her seat, and many of her colleagues will also take seats in Burma's lower house.

The ABC observed counting at a small booth in Rangoon where an unofficial result of 402 to 119 in the NLD's favour was announced.

The opposition claims it is on course to win all 44 of the seats it contested in the by-elections, but that will not threaten the military-backed ruling party's huge majority.

More than 170 candidates from 17 parties had contested the by-elections.

The number of small parties competing reflects the effects of the recent loosening of military control in the historically repressive country.

The opposition has made a complaint to the Election Commission in regard to irregularities during the vote, notably wax being applied to ballot papers so that voter choices could be later removed.

Many people also complained that their names were not on the voting roll, even though they were registered.

Others said dead relatives remained on the lists.

Ms Suu Kyi had said that pre-election irregularities meant the poll could not be free and fair, instead calling it a step in the reform process.

But in Rangoon, those who voted did so enthusiastically, and turnout was high.

International observers say the process has appeared generally well run.

The elections came after the country's ruling military junta carried out a series of sudden, dramatic democratic reforms.

It was the first time Ms Suu Kyi wasable to freely contest an election, having been under house arrest in 1990 and 2010.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-04-01/polls-close-in-burma-elections/3925996

Friday, November 28, 2014
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