Myanmars-parliament-opens-after-decades-of-military-rule. NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Myanmar’s first democratically elected parliament in 50 years convened Monday in the capital, Naypyidaw.
The National League for Democracy, the party of Nobel Prize winner and former political prisoner Aung Sang Suu Kyi, holds over half the lower legislature’s 664 seats after November’s elections; it is expected legislation will easily be passed to ease the country’s transition from military rule. At issue is who will serve as president; Suu Kyi is constitutionally prevented from the position, an amendment directed specifically at her banning anyone whose children are foreign nationals – hers are British – although she has said although a president will be chosen and installed, she will nonetheless run Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, from “above the president.”
Candidates have not yet come forward; the upper house of parliament convenes Wednesday, and outgoing president Thein Sein and his cabinet will remain in place until the end of March.
The NLD has already chosen parliamentary speakers and their deputies, and members of ethnic minorities were chosen in three of four cases. Ethnic minorities comprise over one-third of Myanmar’s population and have had a tense relationship with the previous military government, to the point conflicts lasting decades are still played out in norther Myanmar, near its border with China. Suu Kyi has said national unity and internal peace are her party’s priority.
By Ed Adamczyk