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ELECTION 2015

Suu Kyi Requests Meeting with President, Army Chief and Speaker

The opposition leader, whose party expects to form the next government, asks to meet three of Burma’s biggest political players, aiming for “national reconciliation.”


RANGOON — Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party expects to form Burma’s next government after early returns showing a commanding election triumph, has asked to meet President Thein Sein, the Burma Army commander-in-chief and Union Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann, with the opposition leader saying “national reconciliation” would be on the agenda.

The three letters, sent separately to Thein Sein, military chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing and Shwe Mann, were dated Tuesday and signed by Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy (NLD) chairwoman.

“A peaceful implementation of the people’s desire, which they expressed via the Nov. 8 election, is very important for the country’s dignity and people’s peace of mind,” she wrote.

“So I want to discuss with you in the spirit of national reconciliation. Please arrange a time for the meeting that would convenient for you next week,” continues the letter, which was posted to the NLD’s Facebook page on Wednesday.

It was not clear whether Suu Kyi was requesting a meeting that would bring all four of Burma’s big political players together, or was instead seeking one-on-one talks.

A meeting between Suu Kyi and the three men who were sent letters on Tuesday has been long-sought by the opposition leader, who entered Parliament in a 2012 by-election but has lacked any real political leverage, given that her party was a relatively small presence in a legislature dominated by Thein Sein’s Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and unelected military parliamentarians.

Suu Kyi has twice been invited to sit down for high-level dialogues, though neither of those gatherings involved the four-party talks that she had pushed for, and instead brought together 48 people and six people, in meetings held in January and April, respectively.

Those talks appeared to produce little in the way of substantive progress on some of the issues that Suu Kyi has raised in the years since she took office, most vociferously amendments to the military-drafted Constitution.

The political landscape has shifted dramatically since the six-party dialogue held on April 10, with Suu Kyi and her party this week basking in the glow of what looks likely to be a landslide general election victory. Per the latest results released by the Union Election Commission (UEC) on Wednesday at noon, the NLD had won 403 of 456 contests announced, with the USDP winning just 36 seats to date.

Shwe Mann on Wednesday acknowledged receiving the letter, and wrote on Facebook that he would arrange to meet with the NLD chairwoman in the coming week.

Just minutes later, presidential spokesman Ye Htut also took to Facebook to announce that Thein Sein had received the letter.

“As the president repeated in his Nov. 6 speech, the government and the army will respect the result of the free and fair election. He also added that we will meet with political leaders for stability in the post-election transitional period,” read the post.

“So, we have replied to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi this morning that we will negotiate bilaterally for the meeting after the UEC has finished its electoral processes.”

This story was updated at 1:15pm to add Ye Htut’s acknowledgement of Thein Sein having received Suu Kyi’s letter and to update election results to reflect the release of more information at noon by the UEC.