After nearly five decades of oppressive military junta rule, Myanmar is at a political and historical crossroads. On Wednesday, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi met Myanmar's military chief in a landmark meeting to discuss a tenuous power transition. Following its victory in the nation's first free elections since the military took over, Aung San Suu Kyi's National League of Democracy (NLD) is set to share power with the military-backed government it was once oppressed by.
The statement released after the hour-long meeting between Myanmar's leading democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi and the commander in chief of the military, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, was vague on details, noting simply that there was an agreement to "cooperate on peace, the rule of law, reconciliation and the development of the country." Aung San Suu Kyi also met with President Thein Sein earlier that day.
The Burmese public, many of them wary after a long junta rule, is watching the unprecedented talks closely. "This transition period is very important," blogger and activist Nay Phone Latt, an NLD politician elect, told The Guardian. "Myanmar has no experience of the old government giving power to the winning party. If power is handed over, it will be historic and it will be good for all the people."
He added that the military's response to the election thus far was "very good."
The NLD is working out ways to negotiate with the government, particularly on issues they strongly contend on such as the constitution. Aung San Suu Kyi has been firm on her intent for Myanmar to become a fully fledged democracy with her as president. She has attempted to change parts of the constitution, including one that prevents her from becoming head of state because her children are foreign citizens.
She has, however, said that whoever she nominates for the role will still be under her rule.
Aung San Suu Kyi's party swept to victory in Myanmar's November 8 elections, winning some 80 percent of the seats. It was the nation's first free elections in decades, despite hundreds and thousands of people such as the deeply persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority being denied the right to vote.
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