Myanmar Election: President Approves Of Suu Kyi Victory

 
on April 03 2012 1:18 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to supporters from a vehicle at Yae Phyu village in Dawei township January 29, 2012.
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to supporters from a vehicle in Dawei township on Sunday. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Myanmar's president said Tuesday he was happy with his country's recent elections, acknowledging for the first time the landslide victory of opposition activist Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party.

Thein Sein, whose ruling junta has had Suu Kyi under house arrest for nearly two decades, told the Associated Press he thought the recent balloting was conducted in a very successful manner.

His remarks are the first by a senior government official since Sunday's election, in which the NLD won 43 of 45 seats available, and follow a series of liberalizing steps taken by Myanmar's reclusive military leadership.

The results, including the NLD's success, are a reflection of this desire within the government, Nay Zin Latt, a top adviser to Thein Sein, told U.K. newspaper the Telegraph. He went into it with his eyes wide open and clear that the outcome would be recognized. 

Parliament will be more active, Nay Zin Latt added. It won't make the government's work harder, but there will be more balance, more inputs and it will be more promising.

Despite the results, the election gave the NLD only 43 of the 664 seats in Myanmar's parliament. The vote tally, however, may worry supporters of the ruling pro-government Union Solidarity and Development Party, who would be pushed out if the NLD can score another landslide win in the Southeast Asian country's next general election, set for 2015.

On Monday, Myanmar's central bank set a reference exchange rate for its currency, the kyat, of 818 against the U.S. dollar, helping clear the way toward a more open, market-based economy.

The move will see the kyat, which previously was pegged at 6.4 to the dollar, move to a managed-float system to encourage investment in Myanmar.

According to experts, the new exchange rate levels the playing field between firms that could access the official rate and those that were stuck doing business at the black market rate.

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