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PARLIAMENT

Suu Kyi, Shwe Mann Vow Peaceful Power Transfer

Aung San Suu Kyi meets Shwe Mann, with the two powerful parliamentarians agreeing to help ensure a peaceful power transfer following the NLD’s election victory.


RANGOON — National League for Democracy chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi met Union Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann on Thursday in Naypyidaw, with the two powerful parliamentarians agreeing to help see through a peaceful transfer of power following the NLD’s landslide victory in Burma’s Nov. 8 general election.

In a joint statement signed by Suu Kyi and Shwe Mann following the sit-down, the two stated that they would “peacefully implement the desire of the people that emerged from the multi-party election on Nov. 8, in order to ensure people’s joy and the good image of the country.”

“The people’s voice is Parliament’s voice, and the people’s desire is Parliament’s desire. And the Parliament will materialize the hopes of the people,” the statement added.

In referencing “the desire of the people,” the statement was alluding to the millions of voters who expressed support at the ballot box for Suu Kyi’s party earlier this month in the historic nationwide election, which saw the NLD win lopsided supermajorities in both houses of the Union Parliament as well as the vast share of seats in regional legislatures.

By securing more than two-thirds of elected seats in both chambers of the bicameral Union Parliament, the NLD has guaranteed that it will choose two vice presidents and ultimately will have the votes needed to appoint a new president from that pair when lawmakers convene early next year.

A clause in Burma’s military-drafted Constitution will prevent Suu Kyi from assuming the presidency, however, because her late husband and two children are British nationals.

Suu Kyi and Shwe Mann met at Parliament’s Lower House complex from 9 am to 10:15 am on Thursday. Suu Kyi also met a handful of foreign envoys residing in Burma on Thursday afternoon.

The joint statement said the two leaders vowed to work together in Parliament “with trust and respect for one another” on matters of national reconciliation and toward fostering a spirit of unity among ethnic minorities and the country’s majority ethnic Burmans.

The meeting between the two powerful parliamentary figures, who are often described as having a good working relationship, comes after Suu Kyi last week sought an audience with the speaker, as well as President Thein Sein and military commander-in-chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, “on the basis of national reconciliation,” stated letters to the three men made public by the NLD.

Shwe Mann on Thursday became the first of the trio to take Suu Kyi up on the offer, while Thein Sein and Min Aung Hlaing also committed last week to meeting with her once the Union Election Commission (UEC) completes its work. That vaguely defined qualifier sets out a timetable that could be interpreted as coming as soon as tomorrow, when the commission is expected to release the results of 11 remaining seats that have not yet had winners declared, or potentially months down the road, if arbitration of disputed election results becomes drawn out.

A final session of Parliament for lawmakers elected in 2010 convened on Monday and is expected to adjourn in late January. Shwe Mann is among hundreds of sitting parliamentarians for the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) who will not be returning to the legislature when a new class of lawmakers is sworn in shortly thereafter, with the speaker losing his election bid for a Lower House seat in Phyu Township to his NLD opponent.