Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi attended Parliament’s closing meeting on Monday.
Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won a strong victory in recent elections. The NLD received many more votes than the Union Solidarity and Development Party, or USDP.
The USDP is supported by the government and the military.
The NLD will have a strong majority of seats in the new parliament. The military will control about one quarter of the seats. The military has controlled the country and its government for the past 50 years.
The meeting of Parliament on Monday was the last time the legislature met under the presidency of Thein Sein. He was a leader of the USDP.
Last week, the Obama administration congratulated both Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi on what it called “historic elections.” But it said Myanmar must take more steps toward becoming a democracy. It said Myanmar must change its constitution so that Aung San Suu Kyi can become president.
The military put a rule into the constitution that bars anyone from becoming president if they have children who are citizens of another country. Aung San Suu Kyi has sons who are British citizens.
President Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisor Ben Rhodes said the Obama administration has “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.”
Aung San Suu Kyi recently talked to Radio Free Asia’s Myanmar service. She said her supporters should, in her words, “control themselves.” She said they should not react to any moves by the government because the election process, in her words, is “not finished yet.”
She said after the NLD forms a new government, it will reveal its plan for reforms. She said reforms are, in her words, “still far ahead.” She said winning the election is only the first step in a long process.
More than 30 million people voted in the election. Most international observers said the election was successful. But some said they were concerned that some Muslims and other minorities were not permitted to vote.
They also said there was a lack of openness in the counting of ballots that some voters chose to mark before the election took place.
This was the first national election in Myanmar since military leaders created a government led by civilians in 2011. The military controlled the government but named civilians as leaders.
Aung San Suu Kyi was under house arrest for almost 20 years. The election allows her and the NLD party to operate more freely now.
I’m Jim Tedder.
VOANews.com reported this story. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it into VOA Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
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Words in This Story
transition – n. a change from one state or condition to another