The National League for Democracy (NLD) swept Myanmar's Nov 8 general election, the outcome surpassing the party's own expectations. It won a majority in the 664-seat Parliament and reduced the army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party to a thin back bench.
The emotional wave stirred by NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi highlighted the paradox of Myanmar's system: Under the current Constitution, she cannot become president because her two sons are British citizens.
But she made clear she would nominate the next president and hold real power as party leader.
The situation also highlighted the need for compromise and accommodation, which are key to stability. Initial signs are hopeful. Ms Suu Kyi held talks with President Thein Sein and armed forces chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. More importantly, she met retired dictator Than Shwe, who endorsed her as Myanmar's future leader.
Challenges remain for the NLD. These include delivering on the high expectations of voters who largely equate democracy and an NLD government with prosperity and more rights.
Underlying these challenges is the need to maintain a working relationship with a military that still controls important portfolios.
Still, the election and the NLD's victory are major turning points for Myanmar, coming five years after a calibrated shift to quasi-democracy after decades of stifling military rule.