Myanmar's pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has held talks with President Thein Sein over transition of power, three weeks after her landslide election victory. The Nobel laureate is also set to meet the military's Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing.
This is the first high-level talk between the leaders since Suu Kyi's National League of Democracy (NLD) swept the parliamentary elections on 8 November. She had called for "national reconciliation" talks soon after the election win.
Suu Kyi met the outgoing president at his house in Naypyidaw on Wednesday (2 December). "The meeting was scheduled to start at 9am [local time] exactly," said Zaw Htay, deputy director general of the presidential house.
The breakthrough comes amid speculation that Suu Kyi could still become Myanmar's president, despite constitutional limitations. She has been constitutionally barred from becoming Myanmar's president because she had married a foreigner and her two sons hold foreign nationality.
In the complex political system of Myanmar, the junta-backed government will stay in power until at least January 2016, while the incoming president is not expected to be sworn-in until March. It is also vital for NLD and Suu Kyi to maintain a cordial relationship with the military as the army continues to wield considerable influence in the Southeast Asian nation. Myanmar, formerly Burma, has been under military rule for six decades and the latest election is billed as the first free and fair democratic process in a quarter of a century.
None of the three key parties – the NLD, ruling government, and military – have hinted how the negotiations would progress, but all have agreed for a peaceful transition. However, what transpired during the talks is yet to be made public.
"She needs to be cautious to get 'a good deal' from the military. But it is not enough that only one side wants reconciliation. The military needs to have the same desire if they are willing to fulfil the people's desire," political analyst Yan Myo Thein told Myanmar Times.
A similar victory by opposition political parties in 1990 was later cancelled by the military-installed government. However, it is unlikely to be repeated this time given the political climate surrounding Myanmar and the military's loosening grip on the administration.