Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party attained a historic majority in Myanmar’s Parliament on Friday, making it possible for them to form the Southeast Asian country’s first truly civilian government in more than half a century. While complete results from last Sunday’s elections will take more time to be tallied, the state election commission announced that Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party had won 37 additional seats – pushing it over the threshold of 329 seats needed for a majority in the two-house Parliament.
The party with a combined parliamentary majority is able to select the next president, who can then name a Cabinet and form a new government. The 329 figure represents a majority in the 664-member parliament because voting was not held in seven constituencies due to unrest. The ruling military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has won just 40 seats so far. The handover should take place after the new Parliament meets early next year and votes on a new president, along with two vice-presidents.
The NLD will face a variety of challenges, no least of which is the huge tide of pent-up expectations evidenced by the vote. Its lack of experience in public administration is another big question mark.