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Myanmar poll represents important step in democratic reform: US

Washington: The US today congratulated people of Myanmar on the election, saying the vote represents an important step in the country’s democratic reform process despite some structural and systemic flaws.

“For the first time ever, millions of people in Burma (Myanmar) voted in a meaningful, competitive election. Despite some structural and systemic flaws, we believe that Sunday’s vote represents an important step in Burma’s democratic reform process,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at his daily news conference.

The US, he said, congratulates people of Burma on the election, and commend all of the people and institutions in the country who worked together to hold a peaceful and historic election.

“We’re seeing initial reports of results, but we encourage everyone to wait for the Union Election Commission’s official results,” he said.

The US embassy team was impressed by the enthusiasm of the people of Burma, which was indicated by the long lines, apparent high voter turnout, and the diversity of voices coming to the polls, he said.

“We were encouraged by public statements by President Thein Sein, and the commander-in-chief, as well as Aung San Suu Kyi, and National League for Democracies remarks encouraging calm and acceptance of the results,” Earnest said.

“It’s important for all political leaders to work together to form a new government, and for stakeholders to help to ensure calm and pursue national reconciliation,” the presidential spokesman said.

Responding to questions, Earnest said it is already clear that Aung San Suu Kyi has had a powerful voice in bringing about some much needed reform and change to the political system inside of Burma.

“We have acknowledged that there were some flaws in the political system there include in that category the law that specifically targets her (Suu Kyi) by suggesting that because she has had a spouse that lives in another country, that she can’t serve as president,” he said.

“Another one of those rules is that right now, 25 per cent of the parliamentary seats are guaranteed to the military. So there are some imperfections, to put it mildly, but there’s also no denying the rather dramatic change that we’ve seen inside of Burma and the United States has played an important role in trying to nurture that change and give the Burmese people more of a voice in the governing of their country,” Earnest said.