Historic Elections in Myanmar
History is made in the country of Myanmar.
Voters there participated in what's hoped to be the freest election in a quarter century. Myanmar is located in Southeast Asia, bordering China, Bangladesh, Thailand and the Bay of Bengal.
Ivan Watson reports from Myanmar's largest city, Yangon.
--REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
THEY LINE UP BEFORE DAWN.
HOURS BEFORE POLLING STATIONS OPEN... COMMITTED TO CASTING THEIR BALLOTS.
CRITICS SAY THERE ARE SERIOUS STRUCTURAL FLAWS IN SUNDAY'S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION…
AND YET IT'S STILL BEING PROMOTED AS THE CLOSEST THING MYANMAR HAS SEEN TO A DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL ELECTION IN 25 YEARS.
(Ivan Watson) "The atmosphere in these polling stations is hushed and solemn. For many people, this is the first time they've ever voted in a general election."
AMONG THE NEW VOTERS, HLAING MYINT AND HIS WIFE TAR YAR.
FOR THEM, THIS ELECTION HAS BEEN HARD WORK. THEY WAITED IN LINE FOR FIVE HOURS TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS.
HE SAYS IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT.
(Hlaing Myint, Voter) "This is the only way, we hope that we can change the things in the future. Our future. Our baby. My daughter, I have one daughter. 9 years old. So for their future, we have to vote."
SOME HERE HOPE THIS ELECTION WILL HELP BRING AN END TO DECADES OF MILITARY RULE.
AND MANY HAVE PINNED THOSE HOPES ON THIS WOMAN…
AUNG SAN SUU KYI… THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER AND LEADER OF THE COUNTRY'S LARGEST OPPOSITION PARTY, THE NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY.
THE LAST TIME HER PARTY COMPETED IN A NATIONAL ELECTION WAS IN 1990.
THE PARTY WON, BUT THEN THE MILITARY ANNULLED THE RESULTS…AND ARRESTED AUNG SAN SUU KYI AND MANY OF HER COLLEAGUES.
THIS TIME, MYANMAR'S PRESIDENT -- HIMSELF A FORMER MILITARY COMMANDER -- VOWS THAT THE ELECTION RESULTS WILL BE RESPECTED.
IN THE AFTERNOON, A TROPICAL DOWNPOUR HITS YANGON.
BUT IT DOES NOT DAMPEN SOME PEOPLE'S ENTHUSIASM.
AT FOUR P.M. THE GATES CLOSE AT THIS BUDDHIST MONASTERY-TURNED-POLLING STATION.
WORKERS BEGIN THE VOTE COUNT UNDER THE CLOSE EYE OF ELECTION OBSERVERS...
REPRESENTATIVES FROM SOME OF THE DOZENS OF POLITICAL PARTIES COMPETING IN THIS CONTEST.
OUTSIDE, MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WATCH AND WAIT…TO LEARN THE FUTURE OF THEIR COUNTRY.
IVAN WATSON, CNN, YANGON.
Results from Sunday's vote show the opposition party, that's the National League for Democracy, won nearly 75% of the vote.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the country of Myanmar Sunday night, praising the millions of people who voted for the first time and who, “seized this opportunity to move one step closer to a democracy that respects the rights of all.”
Reference: CIA World Factbook: Myanmar (Burma)