The overwhelming winner was Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party (NLD) captured an outright majority in the country’s parliament and is now free to choose its next president.
The extent of the drubbing by the opposition was a major shock given the entrenchment of the military institution, which still allocated one-fourth of the seats in both chambers of parliament. Suu Kyi, both a Nobel Prize winner and once a longtime political prisoner, has also been constitutionally barred from holding the office of president because her children hold U.K. citizenship.
“Her party’s sweep was so thorough that one candidate who died before the vote still defeated his ruling-party rival,” The New York Times noted.
Despite a gradual loosening of the military’s grip in recent years, concerns remain about whether the junta will truly relinquish power. Suu Kyi’s party previously won elections held in 1990, but the results were invalidated and she was placed under house arrest for 15 of the next 21 years.