RANGOON — More than three weeks after the Nov. 8 election, National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi will visit President Thein Sein and military chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing in separate meetings on Wednesday.
An audience with both men has long been sought after by Suu Kyi, whose party swept the November poll and will almost certainly form government when the election of the next president is put before the Union Parliament in March.
Efforts to broker a dialogue with Thein Sein, Min Aung Hlaing and Union Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann were repeatedly delayed since Suu Kyi’s election in 2012. A meeting of the four along with Arakan National Party chairman Aye Maung and Upper House Speaker Khin Aung Myint was held in April without any firm commitments beyond future discussions. Shwe Mann has formally met with the NLD leader since the election.
The Irrawaddy spoke with political leaders and analysts about what they expect to see from the Wednesday meetings.
Sai Nyunt Lwin, spokesman for the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD):
“The main point is a smooth transition of power. The second is to collaborate as much as possible in the process of rebuilding the country. I hope there is some outcome from the meetings. The previous meetings were just meeting each other without proper discussion. The six-party dialogue was just nonsense and not effective. But now they will meet in private. If everything goes well in the meetings it will be a positive sign for the country.”
Aye Thar Aung, patron of the Arakan National Party (ANP):
“I don’t know what they will discuss tomorrow, but what I hope it that it is different from previous meetings. I believe there will be a smooth transfer of power but the challenge now is to end civil wars. The military chief needs to collaborate with the next government to tackle those problems. When we get such results, there will be a benefit for the country. [Suu Kyi] also needs to meet with ethnic parties and ethnic armed groups in a spirit of national reconciliation after she meets with the president, military chief and parliament speaker.”
Dr Khin Zaw Win, director of the Tampadipa Institute:
“After the NLD secured a majority seats in the parliament, everyone has been expecting these meetings to happen. At first, people thought they would meet a week after the election results were announced…so there were concerns about the delay. But now that it has been arranged, I see it as a positive sign for the country. I hope they discuss a smooth power transition and other important matters like continued armed conflict in the country.
Win Htein, NLD central executive committee member:
“As we have stated, she would like to meet with them to discuss matters, in a spirit of national reconciliation, relating to the peaceful implementation of the people’s desire based on the election results. I hope it proceeds smoothly.”