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    Nov 13, 2015

    Myanmar president, army vow smooth transition of power


    MYANMAR'S military establishment pledged yesterday to ensure a smooth transition of power as democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi's party stood on the verge of a crushing win following Sunday's election.

    By yesterday afternoon, Ms Suu Kyi's opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) was just 38 seats short of hitting the figure of 329 to claim a majority across both houses of Parliament, reported Agence France-Presse.

    In statements posted on Facebook, President Thein Sein, who heads Myanmar's quasi-civilian government, and army chief Min Aung Hlaing congratulated the NLD, promising to respect the poll result and work with the new government.

    Senior General Min Aung Hlaing repeated his position to the military top brass, vowing "cooperation with the new government in the post-election period," according to a statement on his Facebook page.

    Many NLD supporters remain deeply suspicious of the army, notorious for political sleight of hand. It dominated Myanmar from 1962 to 2011 when it withdrew to rule from behind the scenes.

    In another Facebook post, Information Minister Ye Htut said United States President Barack Obama "called President Thein Sein this morning to congratulate him and the government for successfully holding a historic free and fair general election".

    "He said America would continue cooperating with the Myanmar government," added Mr Ye Htut, reported Reuters.

    There was no immediate confirmation by Washington if Mr Obama had sent a message to Ms Suu Kyi.

    Ms Suu Kyi, who was kept under house arrest by successive military juntas for 15 years between 1990 and 2010, has called for "national reconciliation", stressing the need for a peaceful power shift.

    NLD spokesman Nyan Win said yesterday that holding talks with the President, the military chief and the outgoing Lower House speaker Shwe Mann is its "first move".

    The three have agreed to Ms Suu Kyi's invitation to meet soon, although they have not agreed on the details.

    According to the Irrawaddy newspaper, if the NLD secures a massive majority in the Parliament, the military MPs - who would make up 25 per cent of the houses as guaranteed by the Constitution - would find it hard to deny it the right to choose the president, even by allying with other parties.