Myanmar president hails election in first public appearance after polls

Myanmar President Thein Sein speaking at a meeting of the political parties in Yangon, on Nov 15, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS
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Myanmar's President Thein Sein promises a 'smooth' transition during a meeting he held with political parties a week after the landmark election.

YANGON (AFP) - Myanmar's President Thein Sein on Sunday (Nov 15) hailed the country's election in his first public appearance since the polls on Nov 8.

He said historic polls won in a thumping landslide by Aung San Suu Kyi's party were the consequence of his government's reforms and vowed a smooth transition of power.

The following is a transcript of his speech given at a meeting of political parties in Yangon:

I am delighted to meet once again with my colleagues, the leaders of the political parties. Since I initiated reforms, I have listened and implemented the advice given in meetings with political parties. Now, at this important time for the country, I meet with you all to ensure a smooth transition.

The 2015 general elections have now been successfully held. The international community has also congratulated the country on this achievement. As I had pledged, my government did everything possible under its authority to ensure that the elections were clean and free. We fulfilled this pledge. Holding clean and fair elections shows that our country's democratic transition is successfully moving forward. My government since taking office has implemented needed liberalisation, media freedom, and governance to make it possible for the people to actively participate in politics. The role of political parties is also important, and I acknowledge their contributions today.

The elections, which are important for the transition after five years of implementing reforms, have now been successfully held. I acknowledge the Union Election Commission, political parties that participated, winning candidates, all the participants and voters for ensuring that the elections were peaceful, smooth and successful.

During the remainder of my government's term in office, existing laws, regulations, procedures, and guidance will continue to be upheld, and a smooth transition undertaken. In accordance with established procedures, I will send invitations for the convening of the second parliament. After parliament step by step carries out its work, transfer to the resulting new government will occur within the designated timeframe. I would like to stress that this work will be undertaken calmly, peacefully, and smoothly.

Within my government's five years in office, we have given our best efforts at implementing the required tasks. In particular, we fostered a new political culture of resolvingissues through dialogue and negotiations between political forces. In the area of peace, we signed a nationwide ceasefire agreement(NCA)with eight Ethnic Armed Organizations(EAOs). We continue to strivefor the inclusion of the remaining EAOs.The importance of the agreement liesin the political guarantees for resolving armed conflict through political means, andtogether establishinga federal and democratic Union through political dialogue. The NCA is the best foundation for peace that we leave behind. Efforts are being made to begin political dialogue soonin accordance with thetimelineprovided in the NCA. I believe the next government will do its best to continue to build on this good foundation.

Elections are important in a democratic system, and they must be held on a regular basis. Under our country's system elections are held every five years. The people's decisions determine the results of the elections. There will be winning parties and losing parties. However, in a democratic system, justas the winning parties must work for the best interests of the people, the losing parties must ensure that the important democratic practice ofchecks and balances remains strong. Additionally, parties not elected to parliament must engage outside of it. This will ensure a healthy and lively democracy. Therefore, I urge all political parties to strive to ensure a strong system of checks and balances.

Since our country is undergoing transition, the success of this is not only the responsibility of the government, and parliamentbut also of all the political forces in the country. Therefore, the political parties have an important contribution to make towards the successful completion of the transition. Similarly, political parties also play a role in the peace process. In particular, all political forces will participate in their respective roles during political dialogue. Therefore, I remind political parties to make preparations to participate in political dialogue.

In every election, there will be winning and losing parties. The choices of the electorate may also change. No matter the changes, it is critical to continuedevelopment ofthe country while ensuring stability and peace. This is not only the dutyof the government but also a responsibility of everyone.

Our country is taking the first steps on the democratic path, and is transitioning from an old to a new system. Therefore, the transition needs to occur methodically and delicately. Additionally, we need to consider our country's history and geopolitics. All these are important for our country's politics, economy, and the ongoing peace process. Those who will govern the country will need to pay attention to these issues.As I pledged in my radio address aired before the elections, I firmly believe that the results of the elections truly reflect the will of the people. The transition after the elections needs to occur smoothly. Future elections will be better organized once the country is on the path to development and stability. All political forces have a role in achieving the goal of raising democratic standards.

During this important period, ourabilities to reason,cooperate, andact withvision will be decisive.

In conclusion, I urge all the leaders of the political parties in attendance today, all political partiesand citizens to work together to ensure a stable, peaceful, and prosperous Union of the Republic of Myanmar.

I invite the leaders of the political parties to discuss freely. I will respond with my comments. Thank you

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