An ecstatic nation awaits Suu Kyi's historic election win

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An ecstatic nation awaits Suu Kyi's historic election win
YANGON, Nov. 10, 2015-- A child watches the vote counting of the multi-party general election in front of the opposition National League for Democracy headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Nov. 10, 2015. Myanmar's Union Election Commission announced 106 parliament representatives-elect on Tuesday as the first-day election result, including 54 to the House of Representatives and 52 to Region or State parliament. Of the 54 seats in the House of Representatives, the opposition National League for Democracy dominates with 49 and NLD also swept 47 of the 52 seats in Region or State parliament. (Xinhua/U Aung via Getty Images)
A huge crowd gather outside the headquarters of National League of Democracy (NLD) party displaying a huge portrait of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon on November 9, 2015. Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party on November 9, said they are on course to claim more than 70 percent of seats after Myanmar's poll, a gain that could bring a major power shift from the military. AFP PHOTO / ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi celebrate as they hear the first official results of the elections on a giant screen outside the National League of Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon on November 9, 2015. Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party has won 15 out of 16 seats in the first results in Myanmar's historic elections, with a clean sweep so far in its Yangon stronghold, poll officials said. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi celebrate as they hear the official results of the elections on a giant screen outside the National League of Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon on November 9, 2015. Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party has won 15 out of 16 seats in the first results in Myanmar's historic elections, with a clean sweep so far in its Yangon stronghold, poll officials said. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
A child with a NLD turban is held by a supporter of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi outside the National League of Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon on November 9, 2015. Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party has won 15 out of 16 seats in the first results in Myanmar's historic elections, with a clean sweep so far in its Yangon stronghold, poll officials said. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporter of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi holds a NLD flag in pouring rain as they hear the first official results of the elections on a giant screen outside the National League of Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon on November 9, 2015. Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party has won 15 out of 16 seats in the first results in Myanmar's historic elections, with a clean sweep so far in its Yangon stronghold, poll officials said. AFP PHOTO / Phyo Hein Kyaw (Photo credit should read Phyo Hein Kyaw/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyiâs National League for Democracy party cheer as they watch the results of the general election on an LED screen displayed outside the partyâs headquarters Monday, Nov. 9 2015 in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar voted Sunday in historic elections that will test whether popular mandate can loosen the military's longstanding grip on power, even if opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party secures a widely-expected victory. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)
A child joins adult supporters of Myanmar's National League for Democracy party to celebrate as unofficial election results are posted outside the NLD headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party said Monday that it was confident it was headed for a landslide victory in Myanmar's historic elections, and official results from the government that began trickling in appeared to back up the claim. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
A supporter of Myanmar's National League for Democracy party displays her mobile phone with a picture of Suu Kyi as they gather to celebrate unofficial election results outside the NLD headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party said Monday that it was confident it was headed for a landslide victory in Myanmar's historic elections, and official results from the government that began trickling in appeared to back up the claim. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
A supporter of of Myanmar's National League for Democracy party, waits in pouring rain outside the NLD headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party was confident Monday that it was headed for a landslide victory in Myanmar's historic elections, as the democracy icon urged supporters not to provoke losing rivals who mostly represent the former junta that ruled this Southeast Asian nation for a half-century. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Supporter of Myanmar's National League for Democracy party flash their mobile phones as they gather to celebrate unofficial election results outside the NLD headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party said Monday that it was confident it was headed for a landslide victory in Myanmar's historic elections, and official results from the government that began trickling in appeared to back up the claim. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Supporters of Myanmar's National League for Democracy party celebrate as election results are posted outside the NLD headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party said Monday that it was confident it was headed for a landslide victory in Myanmar's historic elections, and official results from the government that began trickling in appeared to back up the claim. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
An Opposition supporter sits in a cafe in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. With tremendous excitement and hope, millions of citizens voted Sunday in Myanmar's historic general election that will test whether the military's long-standing grip on power can be loosened, with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party expected to secure an easy victory. (AP Photo/Amanda Mustard)
Supporters of Myanmar's National League for Democracy party cheer as election results are posted outside the NLD headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party said Monday that it was confident it was headed for a landslide victory in Myanmar's historic elections, and official results from the government that began trickling in appeared to back up the claim.(AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Supporters of Myanmar's National League for Democracy party gather for election results outside the NLD headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. With tremendous excitement and hope, millions of citizens voted Sunday, Nov. 8 in Myanmar's historic general election that will test whether the military's long-standing grip on power can be loosened, with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party expected to secure an easy victory. (AP Photo/Amanda Mustard)
Supporters of Myanmar's National League for Democracy party cheer as election results are posted outside the NLD headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party said Monday that it was confident it was headed for a landslide victory in Myanmar's historic elections, and official results from the government that began trickling in appeared to back up the claim. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Braving rain, supporters of Myanmar's National League for Democracy shout slogans outside the NLD headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party was confident Monday that it was headed for a landslide victory in Myanmar's historic elections, as the democracy icon urged supporters not to provoke losing rivals who mostly represent the former junta that ruled this Southeast Asian nation for a half-century. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Braving rain, a supporter of Myanmar's National League for Democracy party shouts slogans outside the NLD headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD party was confident Monday that it was headed for a landslide victory in Myanmar's historic elections, as the democracy icon urged supporters not to provoke losing rivals who mostly represent the former junta that ruled this Southeast Asian nation for a half-century. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
People gather to buy merchandise with pictures of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at a shop run by her National League of Democracy party in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015. Her party, which appears headed for a massive election victory, accused the government election panel Tuesday of intentionally delaying results, saying it may be trying "to play a trick." (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
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YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Voices rang out in unison Monday, as hundreds of jubilant people gathered outside the opposition party headquarters where images of Aung San Suu Kyi were being shown on large-screen TVs. Results from Myanmar's historic election were still not final, but opposition leaders were convinced of success and their supporters were celebrating.

"She's the people's leader who the whole world knows," the crowds sang. "Write your own history in your hearts for our future so the dictatorship will end. Go, go, go away dictatorship."

From street vendors to intellectuals to former political prisoners who suffered torture and imprisonment, pro-democracy supporters were jubilant at the idea of a Suu Kyi victory, and the weakening of a military-backed regime in a country where iron-fisted generals have held sway for half a century.

Even some pro-government voters hailed Sunday's general election, if only in hopes that a new government would bring improvement to their lives in one of the world's most impoverished nations. Celebrations were occurring across the country, but enthusiasm probably ran highest around the headquarters of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy in Yangon, where her spokesmen said the party was headed for a landslide victory. Final official results are not expected until Tuesday at the earliest.

Even some foreign tourists got caught up in the atmosphere, posing for photographs after donning T-shirts and headbands with the NLD's "fighting peacock" logo.

"I think Mother Suu will win. She must win," said Thet Paing Oo, a 24-year-old fruit seller, referring to the leader with an affectionate term that many people here use. "There will be more freedom in our country if the NLD wins. Our country will be better. Our lives will be better."

While not without problems, the election appeared to have passed generally freely.

"This election has given the people an opportunity to voice their will, and the groundswell of people's support provides some sense of solace for the people who have suffered and made sacrifices for the past 30 years," said Ko Ko Gyi, a former student leader and one of thousands of people imprisoned during the military's rule.

Journalists and monitors were even given access to voting on a vast military base in Naypyitaw, the capital city that is home to most military leaders and top civil servants. Even in Naypyitaw, some supporters of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party said they hoped the election would bring change and a better future.

A soldier's wife, 31-year-old Lu Ti, said she liked both current President Thein Sein and Suu Kyi, who was "also good in her own way."

Political analyst Yan Myo Thein said he was "very happy with the election outcome," adding that he now hoped for a smooth transfer of power. The junta annulled the results after Suu Kyi swept the polls in 1990.

The military relinquished formal power in 2011 when Thein Sein, who chairs the USDP, began some tentative reforms. But many in Myanmar view him as a puppet of the still-powerful generals.

Even with a commanding victory, the NLD will have its work cut out in Parliament, where 25 percent of seats are reserved for the military. Suu Kyi herself cannot become president since a constitutional amendment bars anyone with a foreign spouse or husband from holding the position. Suu Kyi's late husband was British, as are her two sons.

Suu Kyi has insisted, though, that the constitution will not keep her down if the NLD wins, saying she will "be above the president."

___

Associated Press writer Denis D. Gray and former AP correspondent Aye Aye Win contributed to this report.


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