The ruling party of Myanmar (Burma), the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), has conceded that it lost this past Sunday’s election to the National League for Democracy (NLD).
Apparently the NLD has won over 70% of the elected seats. It needed over two thirds to ensure a majority in the chambers, where the military has dedicated a quarter of seats for itself. Now it can elect the country’s next president, although the current constitution bars the NLD leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, from holding the position. Several days ago she stated that she would be “above” the president, implying that the president will be a figurehead. (There is no prime minister.) As leader of the majority party, and with no independent electoral mandate for the head of government, it is indeed plausible that she could wind up as the de facto leader of the country and its government.
I have not seen any estimates of vote percentages, and a final accounting may be a while off. The electoral system is first past the post, so the 70% of seats could have come on a substantially lower percentage of votes. I am also unsure of the extent to which there were other parties running. If it was just the USDP and NLD, then the latter probably won a clear majority of the vote. In any case, the term “landslide” is being used, and is probably appropriate.
The outcome does not by any means guarantee smooth democratization. The military and the new legislature will be bargaining over the scope of each other’s powers–assuming the military doesn’t stage a coup to stop it all, as it did in 1990. I do not know enough about the country to make any predictions, other than that full democracy is not here. But if it arrives, this will have been an obviously critical juncture in the process.