Myanmar President Assures Suu Kyi of Peaceful Power Transfer

  • Two leaders meet in capital for first talks since election
  • Suu Kyi's party won landslide victory in historic Nov. 8 vote

Myanmar President Thein Sein congratulated opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on her party’s victory in last month’s election and assured her there would be a peaceful transfer of power.

The two leaders met Wednesday in the capital Naypyidaw for the first time since the historic Nov. 8 poll, the first widely contested election in Myanmar in a quarter of a century. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party swept to a landslide victory over Thein Sein’s military-backed ruling party. Suu Kyi met later with the nation’s powerful military chief Min Aung Hlaing.

The president and Suu Kyi discussed "transferring power peacefully and smoothly to the next government," Information Minister Ye Htut told reporters after the meeting. "Both sides openly discussed cooperating so that people are not worried."

Suu Kyi, 70, and her party are the longtime opponents of the generals who ruled Myanmar from a coup in 1962 until 2011, when they handed power to their political arm. November’s vote was the first widely contested poll since 1990, when the NLD’s victory was ignored by the generals.

A statement on Min Aung Hlaing’s Facebook page said the general and Suu Kyi had a discussion where they agreed to "co-operate for stability and rule of law in the country, unity and development by valuing the people’s will."

"There is no history in Myanmar of a government transferring power to an election winner peacefully," Ye Htut said. "This is the final victory of the present government’s reform process."

Since taking power, Thein Sein’s government has undertaken democratic and economic reforms that led to an easing of international sanctions and economic growth of more than 7 percent in each of the past five years. Despite Suu Kyi’s election victory, the military will maintain a political role in the country thanks to a constitution written by the outgoing junta.

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