Date
27 March 2017
Aung San Suu Kyi talks with army chief Min Aung Hlaing (left) at the Presidential Palace in Yangon in this file picture taken on Jan. 12. Photo: Xinhua
Aung San Suu Kyi talks with army chief Min Aung Hlaing (left) at the Presidential Palace in Yangon in this file picture taken on Jan. 12. Photo: Xinhua

Myanmar army chief accepts Suu Kyi victory, offers cooperation

Army chief Min Aung Hlaing respects the outcome of Myanmar’s election and is willing to work with a new government led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, a senior government official said.

“The commander-in-chief of the armed forces has said that he will accept the position made by the Myanmar people and will also work with a new government,” Bloomberg News quoted Minister of Information Ye Htut as saying in an interview.

Suu Kyi’s NLD is dominating early returns from the Sunday vote and is on track to rout the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, the military’s political arm.

Aung Hlaing’s public acceptance of the results may reassure the NLD, who fear a repeat of Myanmar’s first modern election in 1990, when the NLD also won a sweeping victory only to see the ruling generals refuse to accept the outcome, the news agency said.

Suu Kyi won the vote even though she was under house arrest at the time.

With the NLD poised to break the army’s grip on direct control of the government, the election is proving to be the biggest test yet of just how much influence the military is willing to relinquish after half a century rule that left Myanmar one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia.

The quasi-civilian USDP government has opened Myanmar to the outside world since 2010, attracting a flood of foreign investment and fueling some of the fastest economic growth in the region.

Even with an NLD government in place, the political system is still rigged to protect the military’s interests.

Key ministries such as defense and interior are reserved for the army as well as 25 percent of the seats in each house of the legislature. The military also controls lucrative parts of the economy such as jade mining.

As long as NLD sees the military as a partner, “there will be no problems,” Ye Htut said.

President Thein Sein, a former general, said earlier that his government also acknowledges the outcome and he was prepared to meet with Suu Kyi once the final results are tallied.

Suu Kyi has appealed for a meeting with the two men to ensure the “people’s will” is respected as the vote count dragged on.

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RA/CG

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