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Suu Kyi seeks meeting with Myanmar's military

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 16:55
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Fresh from her party's apparent landslide victory in nationwide elections, Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar's democracy movement, has asked the commander of the country's powerful military for a meeting on the basis of "national reconciliation."

[YANGON] Fresh from her party's apparent landslide victory in nationwide elections, Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of Myanmar's democracy movement, has asked the commander of the country's powerful military for a meeting on the basis of "national reconciliation".

In a letter released by her party on Wednesday, Ms Suu Kyi affirmed the election victory, which has yet to be officially endorsed by the country's election commission. She requested a meeting with Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing, the commander in chief of the military, for next week, adding "whenever convenient".

"It is crucial for the dignity of the nation that the people's will, which was shown in the election of Nov 8, be truly implemented in a peaceful and stable manner," she wrote in the letter, which was dated Tuesday.

She sent similar letters to President Thein Sein and other senior officials.

"So far they have not replied yet," Win Htein, a spokesman for her party, said Wednesday.

Winning a majority in both houses of parliament, which political analysts say they believe the party achieved in the election Sunday, would give her party control over both the legislative and executive branches of government. The president will be elected by the parliament early next year.

But the police, army and large parts of the bureaucracy will stay under the military's direct control. Analysts say the key to a functioning government will be cooperation between Ms Suu Kyi and the military.

The military-drafted constitution prohibits Ms Suu Kyi from serving as president, but she has rankled the ruling party, which is the political arm of the military, by saying she would serve above the president.

"The president will be told exactly what he can do," she told a television interviewer on Tuesday. "I make all the decisions, because I am the leader of the winning party." But she also sent signals that she was not out for revenge.

She told another interviewer: "We are not going in for vengeance, and we are not going in for a series of Nurembergs." She added that she would "uphold the parts of the constitution that are good". The constitution was written by the generals who have ruled Myanmar for most of the past 50 years and was devised for them to retain significant power even in the case of electoral defeat.

On Wednesday, the country's election commission said that of 657 Parliament seats in contention, Ms Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, had been officially declared the winner of 163 seats, compared with 10 for the ruling party.

The election commission also announced that Suu Kyi had been re-elected to her seat, which was expected given the almost divine reverence that she commands across the country.

NYT