#UK Suu Kyi begins transition talks with Myanmar president


Photograph taken and released by the Myanmar News Agency (MNA) on December 2, 2015, shows President Thein Sein meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw on December 2, 2015

Naypyidaw (Myanmar) (AFP) – Myanmar’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi began talks with the nation’s army-backed president on the handover of power Wednesday nearly a month after her opposition party cleaned up at the polls.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won nearly 80 percent of contested seats in a November 8 election which appears poised to end the military’s decades-long domination of the country.

But the opposition remains wary of a military establishment that has duped them before.

The new NLD lawmakers are not due to take their parliamentary seats until at least the end of January, making for a nervous few months of transition.

The NLD won a similar scale landslide in 1990 polls, only to see the military annul the result and dig in for another two decades. 

Suu Kyi, who is blocked from the presidency by the army-written constitution, appealed after her win for “national reconciliation” talks with President Thein Sein and the powerful army chief.

Those talks began on Wednesday in the remote capital Naypyidaw.

“The President and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi are meeting now,” Zaw Htay from the President’s Office told AFP.

‘Daw’ is a term of respect in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi is set to meet army chief Min Aung Hlaing in a separate meeting later on Wednesday.

Both the president and army chief were swift to congratulate Suu Kyi on her election win and have pledged to handover power in an orderly fashion.

The army has gradually relaxed its stranglehold on the country with reforms that began in 2011 under Thein Sein’s semi-civilian government. 

The reforms culminated in the November election which passed off successfully and saw the army-backed ruling party trounced at the polls.

Despite the humiliation of defeat, the military retains major influence.

It has 25 percent of all parliamentary seats guaranteed under the constitution as well as key security and bureaucratic posts.

Suu Kyi has vowed to rule from “above the president”, indicating she will appoint a proxy to the role to circumvent the charter block on her political rise.

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