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Votes Still Being Counted, But Aung San Suu Kyi Expects Big Win In Myanmar

Votes are still being counted in Myanmar, but according to early results Aung San Suu Kyi's party is headed toward a big victory.

Reporting from Yangon, NPR's Anthony Kuhn says the country also known as Burma went to the polls on Sunday for the freest elections in decades. He filed this report for our Newscast unit:

"Supporters of Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, or NLD started celebrating Sunday night outside party headquarters, even though vote tallies are still not in.

"While there have been allegations of vote-rigging, polling places here in Yangon, the biggest city, were well-organized and the voting went smoothly.

"Suu Kyi is constitutionally barred from being President, but she says if her party wins, she'll make the key political decisions anyway. Myanmar is entering a period of political uncertainty that will last until a new government is formed early next year."

If you're wondering, the constitution bars Suu Kyi from the presidency because she had a foreign spouse and her children hold British citizenship.

The BBC reports that a spokesman for the NLD, which is the country's opposition party, said when the votes are counted they expect to have a winning majority.

That's a tall task, reports the BBC, because "a quarter of the parliamentary seats are reserved for the army," and that means the NLD will have to win about two-thirds of the contested seats. The BBC adds that the NLD "will face difficulties in changing the constitution on its own as the document still gives the military considerable power, and the party would most likely nominate someone else to be president. Ms Suu Kyi has said she would be 'above the president.' "

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.