NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (AP) — Nearly a month after her party’s crushing election win, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi held closed-door talks with Myanmar’s outgoing president Wednesday to discuss what both hope will be a “smooth” transition of power.
Because it took so long for the two to meet, there were some concerns the still powerful military would not easily accept the results.
Suu Kyi was expected to meet with Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief, later Wednesday.
The Southeast Asian nation started moving from a half-century of dictatorship toward democracy in 2011, when military rulers inexplicably agreed to hand over power to a nominally civilian government headed by President Thein Sein, a general turned “reformist.”
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy easily won the Nov. 8 vote, securing enough seats in both the lower and upper parliament to form a government. Though a clause in the 2008 military-drafted constitution bars her from the presidency, she has vowed to rule by proxy.
Presidential spokesman Ye Htut told reporters the meeting at Thein Sein’s residence in the sprawling capital, Naypyitaw, lasted about 45 minutes.
“The main point was to talk about a smooth transition and transfer of power to the newly elected government,” he said, “and to discuss mutual cooperation in the future.”
Another goal, he said, was simply to “ease people’s concerns.”
Despite the NLD’s landslide victory, most analysts agree, it would be almost impossible to govern without the support of the military establishment. By law, the military still controls a quarter of the seats in parliament, giving it veto power over all constitutional amendments. It also has a grip on all key security portfolios.
Ye Htut told reporters the meeting between Suu Kyi and Thein Sein was amicable.
The president congratulated “The Lady,” as she is popularly known, for leading her party to victory. And Suu Kyi said she was thankful that the elections were free and fair, as promised.
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