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Polls Close In Burma's Landmark Elections


Polls have closed in Burma's first free nationwide elections in 25 years.

Polling stations across the country closed at 4 p.m. local time. Union Election Commission deputy director Thant Zin Aung said that voter turnout was at 80 percent.

The National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to win, but she is barred from taking the presidency herself under a constitutional amendment.

Some 30 million people were eligible to vote but most of the 1.1 million persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority were barred from voting.

There are 91 parties running candidates but the election is largely seen as a race between the NLD and the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party.

Twenty-five percent of 664 parliamentary seats are reserved for the military.

President Thein Sein said his government and the military, which gave up power only five years ago, would respect the election results.

Aung San Suu Kyi won the last free vote in 1990, but the military ignored the results.

If her party wins a majority and is able to form a government, Suu Kyi says she will be the power behind the new president.

The constitution bars people with foreign spouses or children from assuming the executive's post. Aung San Suu Kyi's late husband and sons are British.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP
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