The acting leader of Myanmar's ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) said on Tuesday the weekend elections that dealt his military-backed party a landslide defeat at the hands of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) will give the Southeast Asian country's voters "a government based on their choice."
Htay Oo, who lost his seat in the Irrawaddy River town of Hinthada in Sunday's vote, said he has urged his party members "not to be disappointed and upset at people" after a stinging defeat that is expected to send the USDP into opposition.
"It is the nature (of things) and we will have the next election in five years," Htay Oo told RFA's Myanmar Service in an interview. "I also asked (USDP membres) to continue doing what they have to for people."
Shrugging off his own defeat, he said: "I don’t care whether I am a MP or not. My interest is to work for the people under my party’s leadership that I believe in. I worked, have been working, and I am thinking that I will continue working for the people as well."
The latest official tally by the Union Election Commission, which oversees the country’s polls, put the NLD way ahead with 78 seats in the lower house of parliament, 29 seats in the upper house and 142 seats in state and regional legislatures. Election officials said it would likely take several days for all votes to be counted.
The USDP, which holds about 75 percent of elected seats in the current parliament, is trailing considerably, winning only five seats in the lower house, two in the upper house and 12 in state and regional legislatures.
Htay Oo, 65, a retired army general and former Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation, was elevated to the leadership of the USDP in August, after the sudden ouster of then leader Shwe Mann, the speaker of parliament.
While he told RFA he has "no idea" what shape the next government will take, he indicated his party would be at peace with the voters' decision.
"People choose a government. They will have a government based on their choice," he said, reiterating remarks he made on Monday that the USDP will accept the results, which are still being tallied across vast, largely rural Myanmar.
"We already said we will accept the result whatever it is as we are moving toward a multi-party system," Htay Oo told RFA.
Asked if the USDP had drawn any lessons from the election results, he said: "What I think is that we need to make more efforts to explain to people what the USDP is doing."
"A political party exists not only to contest in elections, but to work for people as much as and as long as we can," he said.
Reported by Khet Mar for RFA's Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Paul Eckert.