Myanmar President Thein Sein is promising a smooth transition to a new government, in an attempt to remove fears the military will once again ignore the results of a free election.
Thein Sein made the promise during a meeting with several political parties in Yangon Sunday, one week after a historic election won by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party in a stunning landslide over the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party.
“All duties would be transferred to the next government systematically according to the schedule. We will make sure it will be smooth and stable without having to worry about anything,” he said.
The current government will remain in place until February of next year, when the NLD will take power with more than 80 percent of seats in the national parliament, which will allow it to decide who will be president.
The NLD also won the last democratically-held elections in Myanmar, also known as Burma, in 1990, but the military junta ignored the results and maintained its nearly five-decade hold on power until 2010, when it formed a semi-civilian government led by Thein Sein, a former general.
NLD spokesman Nyan Win told reporters at Sunday’s meeting that the party would continue to seek “national reconciliation.”
Aung San Suu Kyi, who is barred from becoming president under the constitution but will wield power behind the scenes as NLD leader, has asked President Thein Sein, parliamentary speaker Shwe Mann and military chief Min Aung Hlaing to hold talks aimed at a smooth transition of power.
Observers say the 70-year-old Nobel Peace laureate must establish a working relationship with the military, which automatically controls 25 percent of all parliamentary seats under the 2008 constitution and maintains control of several key government posts, including defense, interior and border security.