|Brooke Knightley |||Nov 08, 2015 04:52 AM EST|
(Photo : Lauren DeCicca / Getty Images) Voters line up at a polling station in the Golden Valley township during Myanmar's first free and fair election on November 8, 2015 in Yangon, Myanmar.
Myanmar has opened its first free and fair election for the first time in 25 years after decades of rule by the military.
Early Sunday morning, Myanmar citizens began lining up in polling booths all over the country to participate in its first election contested by the opposition since 1990. Around 30 million qualified voters queued at Buddhist temples, government buildings, and schools to vote in a bid to shake up the military rule, according to a Reuters/AP report published on Deutsche Welle (DW).
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Among the 91 parties listed on the ballots, the frontrunners are Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) and the ruling Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP), which is backed by the national army. Parties representing the ethnic minorities are also included on the ballots, the BBC details.
However, thousands of eligible voters were disappointed when their names were not found from the official lists. Millions of Myanmar citizens in other countries also did not make it to the registration deadline. In addition, 1.1 million disenfranchised Muslim Rohingya minority citizens have been banned from participating in the polls.
On Friday, Myanmar's incumbent President Thein Sein delivered a pre-election speech in which he vowed that the government will ensure that the election results will be credible, the report adds.
"I'd like to say again that the government and the military will respect and accept the results," DW quotes President Sein's statement. "I will accept the new government formed, based on the election result."
However, there were still concerns that the election would not be fair since hundreds of thousands of citizens have been barred from voting. Nevertheless, pro-democracy supporters are expecting real change to start unfolding in Myanmar after this election, CNN relays.
Suu Kyi has been banned from running for president, but she said she explained that she will still be the influence behind the new president if her party wins a majority. The former Nobel Peace Prize laureate is not allowed to join the presidential race because Myanmar's constitution disqualifies citizens with foreign children, the report explains.
The results of Myanmar's first fair and free election in 25 years are expected to come out Monday morning.
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