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UN chief congratulates Suu Kyi, warns of hard work ahead

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to the media during a press conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on Oct 31, 2015.

[NEW YORK] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi Thursday on her party's election performance, but warned that "much hard work" lay ahead to build democracy.

Mr Ban described Sunday's poll as a "significant achievement" in Myanmar's transition away from military rule, although he noted that minority voters such as the Muslim Rohingya were denied the right to vote.

However, "there is much hard work that remains ahead on Myanmar's democratic journey and towards making future elections truly inclusive," Ban said in a statement.

Myanmar has been dominated by the military for half a century through direct junta rule and - since 2011 - by a quasi-civilian government run by its allies.

But the balance of power is almost certain to shift to Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) following the most competitive election in generations.

"The people and leaders of Myanmar have it within their power to come together to build a better future for their country, a future ... where no one is marginalized, vulnerable and discriminated against," he said.

The UN chief commended the military for accepting the outcome, describing this as "uniquely important." He offered UN support to Myanmar to consolidate democracy and advance human rights.

AFP