As Aung San Suu Kyi’s lawmakers smiled for the cameras at the first sessions of Myanmar’s parliament, a summit of generals convened at a base just minutes from the chamber. On every mind was the same question: who will be the country’s next president?
The parallel events summed up the complex nature of the political transition: a much-publicized election of parliament speakers at which former foes from Suu Kyi’s party and the military shook hands, while behind closed doors the country’s top power brokers met to hammer out how they will run Myanmar.
After a quiet period following Suu Kyi’s massive election win in November, negotiations have entered a critical stage since a meeting between army chief Min Aung Hlaing and Suu Kyi on Jan. 26, lawmakers and diplomats close to the process say.
With its huge mandate, Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) can chose the next president but, under the constitution written by the army before it ceded power in 2011, she herself cannot take the job. The NLD wants that changed.
The army has so far insisted it wants no change to the constitution and would not countenance Suu Kyi’s presidency. She has struck a defiant note, saying she would lead the country “standing above the president”.
Now, some Yangon-based diplomats say Min Aung Hlaing might be tempted to compromise in return for a pledge from Suu Kyi that she would not infringe on the military’s vast economic interests nor seek revenge for abuses under years of junta rule. Read More