YANGON — Myanmar's opposition National League for Democracy, or NLD, was on course for victory today, three days after the election.
"We lost," said Htay Oo, acting chairman of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party, or USDP. "NLD won the election by a landslide. But we accept the defeat and respect the results."
The NLD, led by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, had won 163 out of 182 counted seats across the lower and upper houses as of earlier Wednesday, the Union Election Commission said, as well as a similar majority of votes counted for the 14 regional assemblies.
It needs a combined 329 to give it a majority in the two houses of the national Assembly of the Union, where the military retains an automatic 25 percent of the seats in each.
The USDP had just eight of the elected seats in the lower house and two in the upper one by early Wednesday, the commission said.
Observers welcomed the elections, but expressed caution. The U.S. observer mission said that the Muslim ethnic Rohingya group was not enfranchised, while the EU representative pointed to the military's reserved seats as an obstacle to full democracy.
Some reports Tuesday said elements of the NLD and an Asian monitoring group expressed suspicion that the election commission could be delaying the results deliberately, but both denied this later.
"You should know the situation here. It would take some time for results to reach the UEC," Damaso Magbual, mission head for the Asian Network for Free Elections, told DPA.
An NLD spokesman agreed. "I understand the transportation situation in some areas is very bad," party spokesman Nan Khin Htwe Myint said.
"It will take some time for the voting results from village level to reach to township level, division level and then to the UEC. But it should not take weeks. It should be done within a week."