Historic day for Myanmar as new parliament convenes

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Suu Kyi in parliamentThe first session of Myanmar’s newly elected parliament kicked off on February 1. For the first time in more than 50 years of democratic struggle, parliamentarians comprise mainly democratically elected representatives who won their seats in a November 2015 general election that fundamentally changed politics in Myanmar after decades of military rule and brought a landslide win for democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

The first regular session of the Lower House assembly officially convened at the parliament building in the capital Naypyitaw. Out of the total 330 elected members of the Lower House, 255 are from the NLD. The military has 110 officers appointed as house members according to its constitutional rights. The NLD also won about 80 per cent of the seats in the Upper House.

Outgoing President Thein Sein pledged that members of the old government would “cooperate with the next government to bring peace and development to the country,” according to a statement on the president’s website.

The next questions is who becomes president. Each of the parliament’s two chambers will appoint one presidential candidate and the military officials who hold a quarter of all seats will also put forward one candidate. The combined chambers will then vote on the three candidates. The winner will become President. The other two will serve as vice presidents.

Under the 2008 constitution, Aung San Suu Kyi is barred from becoming president herself because her children are not Myanmar citizens. She has so far given no indication as to who will take over from Thein Sein and the NLD has no clear number two.

The NLD assured that it will work towards restoring human rights and democracy in the country. However, many of the NLD’s lawmakers are political novices, and the inexperienced new government faces a daunting rebuilding task in a country where much of the economy is still under the influence of the junta and their upper brass and close oligarchs.

Other huge problems remain thriving opium production and trade in Myanmar, illegal trade and smuggling of minerals, widespread corruption and illicit money flows, incalculable ethnic militias in the northeastern autonomous regions, the oppressed Muslim minority of the Rohingyas in the western part of the country and extreme poverty among other minorities, particularly hill tribes in the north.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The first session of Myanmar’s newly elected parliament kicked off on February 1. For the first time in more than 50 years of democratic struggle, parliamentarians comprise mainly democratically elected representatives who won their seats in a November 2015 general election that fundamentally changed politics in Myanmar after decades of military rule and brought a landslide win for democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Suu Kyi in parliamentThe first session of Myanmar’s newly elected parliament kicked off on February 1. For the first time in more than 50 years of democratic struggle, parliamentarians comprise mainly democratically elected representatives who won their seats in a November 2015 general election that fundamentally changed politics in Myanmar after decades of military rule and brought a landslide win for democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

The first regular session of the Lower House assembly officially convened at the parliament building in the capital Naypyitaw. Out of the total 330 elected members of the Lower House, 255 are from the NLD. The military has 110 officers appointed as house members according to its constitutional rights. The NLD also won about 80 per cent of the seats in the Upper House.

Outgoing President Thein Sein pledged that members of the old government would “cooperate with the next government to bring peace and development to the country,” according to a statement on the president’s website.

The next questions is who becomes president. Each of the parliament’s two chambers will appoint one presidential candidate and the military officials who hold a quarter of all seats will also put forward one candidate. The combined chambers will then vote on the three candidates. The winner will become President. The other two will serve as vice presidents.

Under the 2008 constitution, Aung San Suu Kyi is barred from becoming president herself because her children are not Myanmar citizens. She has so far given no indication as to who will take over from Thein Sein and the NLD has no clear number two.

The NLD assured that it will work towards restoring human rights and democracy in the country. However, many of the NLD’s lawmakers are political novices, and the inexperienced new government faces a daunting rebuilding task in a country where much of the economy is still under the influence of the junta and their upper brass and close oligarchs.

Other huge problems remain thriving opium production and trade in Myanmar, illegal trade and smuggling of minerals, widespread corruption and illicit money flows, incalculable ethnic militias in the northeastern autonomous regions, the oppressed Muslim minority of the Rohingyas in the western part of the country and extreme poverty among other minorities, particularly hill tribes in the north.

 

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