Burma’s new parliament held its first sitting today – with Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party making up the majority of the ranks of parliamentarians present.
The NLD won 77 % of the vote in nationwide elections on November 8 last year – including significant support in ethnic areas.
Aung San Suu Kyi is widely respected by the of Burma, and is seen as a respectable challenge to military power in the country – the challenges facing her new and inexperienced Members of Parliament are massive.
The military still holds control over a number of key portfolios, including defence, borders and the interior.
Ethnic people are concerned how the new government will deal with their concerns and the conflicts in the Shan, Kachin and Kokang regions. Human rights advocates want the release of all political prisoners and activists held without trial.
International human rights groups and the UN have called for the end of discrimination and against the country’s Rohungya Muslims.
“I hope that our Karen people will get more rights and no more life on the run like in the past. I want our Karen people to have the rights to study freely and without fear.” Naw Debary, a local Karen said earlier this month.
The constitution still prevents Aung San Suu Kyi from holding the Presidency, however, because of her past relationship with a British national, the Constitution ensures that the military maintains a 25% stake in parliament.