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Aung San Suu Kyi Attends Parliament After NLD Landslide

  • VOA News

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, center, arrives to attend a regular session of the lower house of parliament, Nov. 16, 2015.

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, center, arrives to attend a regular session of the lower house of parliament, Nov. 16, 2015.

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi attended the closing session of the current parliament Monday.

Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), recently won a landslide victory over the government- and military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), capturing an absolute majority of the seats in the new parliament.

Under a clause put into the constitution by the then-ruling military junta, Aung San Suu Kyi is barred from becoming president because her sons are citizens of a foreign country (both are British), as was her late husband. However, she has said if her party won the recent election, she would be the one telling the newly selected president what to do.

Monday's parliamentary session was the last one under Thein Sein's presidency, whose USDP received a drubbing from the NLD.

Last week, the White House, while congratulating both Thein Sein and the NLD leader on Myanmar’s "historic elections," said the country needed to take several more democratic steps, including changing the constitution so Aung San Suu Kyi could possibly become president.

"Even with this election, 25 percent of the seats in the parliament are reserved for the military," White House foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes said Thursday. "We have consistently said over the course of the last several years that a full transition to domestic civilian rule in Burma would require a process of constitutional reform."

Members of Myanmar opposition National League for Democracy party pose for photos in front of a graffiti art depicting party leader Aung San Suu Kyi created by artist Arker Kyaw outside the party's headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Nov 13, 2015.

Members of Myanmar opposition National League for Democracy party pose for photos in front of a graffiti art depicting party leader Aung San Suu Kyi created by artist Arker Kyaw outside the party's headquarters in Yangon, Myanmar, Nov 13, 2015.

Aung San Suu Kyi, in a recent interview with Radio Free Asia’s Myanmar service, cautioned her supporters to "control themselves" and refrain from reacting to any provocation because the electoral process is "not finished yet."

After forming a new government, she said, the NLD will lay out a "clear and precise" timeline for reforms.

"I can see that the goal people wanted is still far ahead and [the election] is only the first step," the NLD leader said.

More than 30 million people cast votes in the election, which international observers mostly praised as successful, while raising concerns over the disenfranchisement of Muslims and other minorities and about the lack of transparency in the counting of advance ballots.

This was Myanmar's first election since the military junta established a quasi-civilian government in 2011, after nearly 50 years in power, and one year after Aung San Suu Kyi's nearly two-decade-long house detention ended and a ban on her NLD party was lifted.

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