Myanmar's Speaker Shwe Mann among early ruling USDP casualties in elections

Myanmar Speaker of Parliament Shwe Mann speaks during an election campaign rally in Myanmar on Nov 5, 2015.
Myanmar Speaker of Parliament Shwe Mann speaks during an election campaign rally in Myanmar on Nov 5, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

Myanmar's influential Speaker of Parliament Shwe Mann, and Mr Htay Oo, joint chair of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), are among the early casualties in Myanmar's general election - pointing to a sweep by the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD).

 The ambitious Mr Shwe Mann's political career, already in doubt after an internal coup removed him from the leadership of the party in August, acknowledged defeat to his NLD rival in a brief statement posted on his Facebook page.

 The former general with presidential ambitions had been sidelined from the party leadership mainly because he was known to have forged an alliance with NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

 The loss technically does not eliminate his chances of being nominated for the presidency, but greatly diminishes them.  

 In the Irrawaddy delta town of Hinthada, party joint chairman Htay Oo had "unfortunately lost", a close aide said on the phone.

 Counting had not been completed, but it was a foregone conclusion, he added.

 Another key figure, Minister in the President's office Aung Min, who has been the government's chief negotiator in the peace process with ethnic armed groups, has lost, sources said. He ran as an independent.

 But Mr Soe Thane, a second key minister in President Thein Sein's office, who is in charge of economic reforms and ran as an independent as well, has won.

 The Union Election Commission is due to issue a statement on available results at 4pm local time (5.30pm Singapore time).

The local media meanwhile on Monday (Nov 9) morning reported allegations of irregularitis involving advance votes arriving late last night at counting stations in Myitkyina in Kachin state, and Lashio and Taungyi in Shan state.

The NLD has reportedly urged an investigation. 

Celebrations have already begun in the ranks of the NLD, with even inexperienced candidates looking set to sweep the polls on an emotional wave of support for Ms Suu Kyi.

nirmal@sph.com.sg