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Myanmar leaders plan reconciliation talks

Nov 12. 2015
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MYANMAR leaders agreed yesterday to sit down for “national reconciliation” talks before the new government takes power, after a proposal by Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy is expected to sweep the polls.
The NLD was set for a landslide victory in Sunday’s election, giving it legitimacy to form a single-party government, while the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) was set for a stunning defeat.
Suu Kyi wrote to President Thein Sein, commander-in-chief senior General Min Aung Hlaing and parliamentary Speaker Thura Shwe Mann proposing meetings next week. Suu Kyi cited national reconciliation as the reason for the talks.
“It is crucial for the nation’s dignity and the public’s happiness to fulfil the people’s desire shown through the November 8 general elections in a stable, peaceful and proper way. With this in mind, I would like to discuss with the president,” Suu Kyi said in her letter to Thein Sein.
Similar letters to Min Aung Hlaing and Shwe Mann also expressed a desire to |meet with them at a convenient time and |place next week so that they could discuss national reconciliation.
Thein Sein agreed with the idea and |said he would arrange a meeting with the country’s political leaders. He said he would himself attend the meeting together with military chief Min Aung Hlaing and Speaker Shwe Mann, but only after the official electoral procedures had been completed, Information Minister Ye Htut said on his Facebook page.

Shwe Mann posted on his Facebook page that he had accepted the invitation. He would arrange for the meeting shortly so that he could discuss with the opposition leader national reconciliation and other issues. 
He also mentioned that he hoped all stakeholders would join forces for the nation’s stability, prosperity, and further development.
As of noon yesterday, the NLD had won in 135 of the 149 results announced for seats in the lower house, while the USPD got only eight seats, according to the Union Election Commission. In the upper house, the NLD had won 29 out of 33 seats while the ruling party won only two. 
The NLD needs at least 66.5 per cent of 498 elected members of the lower and upper houses to form the government. The military has 25 per cent of the two houses as its non-elected quota. 
Suu Kyi is prohibited by the constitution from taking the president’s position, as she was married to a foreigner and her children hold foreign passports. She had said earlier that she would run the country from a position “above the president”. Politicians in Myanmar interpret that as a puppet-master’s role, which might be disapproved by the military that will retain veto power in the administration.
According to the 2008 constitution, the military will nominate its representatives to head key ministries, including Interior, Defence and Border Security.
The commander-in-chief also has special powers to take over the government whenever he deems necessary to end a “crisis” in the country. 
The NLD won a landslide victory in the 1990 election but could not get a chance to run the country as the military junta refused to hand over power to the party. The party boycotted the 2010 election but has some MPs sitting in parliament from 2012 by-elections. 

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