Suu Kyi to meet top leaders tomorrow

YANGON • Myanmar's top leaders will hold talks this week with opposition chief Aung San Suu Kyi, the first since her party's landmark election success, officials said yesterday.

Uncertainty surrounds the handover of power after Ms Suu Kyi's opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) swept nearly 80 per cent of seats in the Nov 8 polls, the fairest elections in 25 years.

Under Myanmar's complex political system, the incumbent army-backed Parliament will remain in power until at least next month while a new president is unlikely to be sworn in until March.

Ms Suu Kyi has requested "national reconciliation" discussions with the President and army chief to smooth that transition. The call until now had gone unanswered, sparking jitters.

Both President Thein Sein and powerful army chief Min Aung Hlaing have now agreed to meet Ms Suu Kyi tomorrow.

"The President will meet with Daw Suu on Dec 2," presidential spokesperson Zaw Htay said without elaborating.

A senior member of the NLD, Mr Win Htein, confirmed the talks.

The military released a separate statement confirming that the army chief would meet Ms Suu Kyi at 2pm at the defence ministry in the capital Naypyitaw tomorrow.

Both Mr Thein Sein and General Hlaing have congratulated Ms Suu Kyi on her party's poll victory and promised to respect the election result. But concerns remain over Myanmar's transition in a country where the military still holds enormous political and economic sway - and has a long history of quashing democratic aspirations.

A previous election landslide win by the NLD in 1990 was simply ignored by the then-ruling junta, which held onto power for a further two decades before ceding to a quasi-civilian regime in 2011.

After the latest elections, the country is on the cusp of finally moving away from that era.

But Ms Suu Kyi is still banned under the army-drafted Constitution from becoming president because she married and had children with a foreigner.

The military also retains 25 per cent of seats in the two legislative chambers, giving it a de facto veto over any constitutional change.

Ms Suu Kyi has so far opted to take a modest approach to victory, dampening celebrations despite her party's overwhelming majority in the combined national Parliament.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2015, with the headline 'Suu Kyi to meet top leaders tomorrow'. Subscribe