Military to discuss nat’l reconciliation with Suu Kyi

YANGON (MindaNews / 12 Nov) – Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s call for national reconciliation is starting to reach the right ears, days after leading her political party to an impending landslide victory in Sunday’s general elections.

The military, called Tatmadaw, has said in a statement on Wednesday that it will join talks aimed at mustering national reconciliation with Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), President Thein Sein, and Union Parliament Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann.

The military issued the statement through the Facebook account of its media portal, Myawady, according to the Yangon-based Myanmar Times.

The Tatmadaw also congratulated the NLD for leading the race for seats in the national and regional parliaments. The military has been a known supporter of NLD’s main rival, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

Speaking to reporters several days before the election, Suu Kyi said an NLD-led government will pursue national reconciliation, making it the foundation for the country’s march towards democracy.

In the past, Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest by the military. Although her party won 52 percent of the votes in 1990, it was not allowed by the military to form the government.

Suu Kyi is daughter of post-British colonial era Burma’s hero, Aung San, who also established the Burma Army. She was two years old when her father was assassinated by political rivals inside his office.

Myanmar has been torn apart by decades of armed rebellion by seven major ethnic nationalities and the brutal repression by a succession of military rulers of the country’s democracy movement.

The military has controlled state power since 1962. Many in the nominally civilian government that took power in 2011 were either active or retired military personnel.

The 2008 Constitution reserves 25 percent of total seats in the national and regional parliaments to the military, which enjoys a co-equal status with the civilian government.

In its election manifesto, the NLD seeks to change the Constitution and place the military “under the aegis of the executive.”

On Wednesday, the NLD continued to sprint away past the USDP in the race for parliament seats. As of 11 p.m., the Union Election Commission (UEC) has confirmed the results for 648 of 1,171 seats. Of these, 223 were for Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) seats, 83 for Amyotha Hluttaw (Upper House), and 342 for state and regional parliaments.

A rundown of the official results compiled by Yangon-based Myanmar Times showed the NLD capturing most of the seats: 179 in the Lower House, 77 in the Upper House, and 280 in the state and regional parliaments.

This means Suu Kyi’s party has already captured 40 percent of the entire Lower House and 34 percent of the Upper House.

The poor showing of the military-backed USDP was apparent in the defeat of former party chair, Shwe Mann, and current party chair, U Htay Oo.

A day after Sunday’s polls, state-run newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar quoted Tatmadaw chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, as saying the military has “no reason not to accept the election results.”