Suu Kyi meets with ex-junta chief Than Shwe

NAY PYI TAW — Opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has met with Myanmar’s former junta chief Senior General Than Shwe in ongoing efforts at national reconciliation in the aftermath of the National League for Democracy’s election win, U Than Shwe’s grandson said Sunday.

The meeting between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and U Than Shwe took place on Friday at the ex-junta chief’s private residence in Nay Pyi Taw and lasted for two and a half hours, Ko Nay Shwe Thway Aung said in a Facebook post claiming to amount to a joint statement by the two leaders.

“I want to announce a joint statement with the permission of both sides,” Ko Nay Shwe Thway Aung posted.

U Than Shwe, the former head of junta that ruled Myanmar between 1988 to 2010 and kept Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest for 15 of those years, reportedly said that in light of the results of the November 8 general election, which the NLD opposition party won by a landslide “it is acceptable that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi becomes the future leader of the nation,” U Than Shwe’s grandson posted.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is blocked from becoming President by the military-drafted constitution which bans the post to people who have close relations holding foreign passports, has said she will rule “above the president” if the NLD won the polls.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

The NLD has been seeking an amendment to the constitution to allow Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, whose two sons are British nationals, from becoming the next president.

U Than Shwe reportedly said he would support Daw Aung San Suu Kyi “if she really works for the development of the country” and he had met her to “establish cooperation with the Tatmadaw (military) and other organizations.”

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said she held “no grudge and harbored no resentments that could lead to bad results for the country,” Ko Nay Shwe Thway Aung said in his post.

The military ruled Myanmar between 1962 to 2010, keeping a lid on dissent with several brutal crackdowns that left thousands dead and imprisoned, and has continued to control the country for the past five years through the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) that won the November 2010 polls, which were boycotted by the NLD.

The NLD won the 1990 general election, but was blocked from assuming power by the military, and secured more some 80 per cent of the contested seats in the polls held last month, giving them a majority in Parliament.

But without military support a NLD-led administration will have difficulty passing law because the military still control 25 percent of the parliamentary seats, giving them veto power over bills.

Since her electoral triumph, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has met with Lower House Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann on November 19 and with President U Thein Sein and Army Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on December 2. Now she has also met with U Than Shwe, said by many to still hold behind-the-scenes power over the military.

By Soe Than Lynn

By Soe Than Lynn

Political reporter Soe Than Lynn knows Nay Pyi Taw inside out. He has been reporting from the Myanmar capital for several years.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Respect the election result, but don’t gloss over the flaws
The large turnout on November 8 powerfully demonstrated society’s commitment to democracy, but this should not overshadow deep flaws in the electoral process that threaten to undermine future progress.
Image, strategy and friends with money: How the NLD did it again
Trust in Aung San Suu Kyi, a tight social media strategy and help from business leaders were among the factors behind the National League for Democracy’s landslide election win.

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters

Our fortnightly magazine is available in print, digital, or a combination beginning at $80 a year

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar