By Prashanth Parameswaran
First parliamentary session held, with a vote on a new president expected next month.
On February 1, Myanmar’s newly elected parliament convened its first session following watershed elections last November, which saw a landslide victory for the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD).
In those elections, the NLD, which is led by democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, captured 390 out of 491 contested seats in both houses of parliament, surpassing the two-thirds majority it needed to form a government and handpick the next president (a quarter of the total of 664 parliamentary seats in both houses are reserved for the military according to the constitution). The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) only won 42 seats (See: “Myanmar’s Opposition Clinches Majority in Election Win”).
While 80 percent of elected seats in the new parliament will be made up of members of parliament (MPs) from the NLD, many of them are political novices thrust into the limelight following the country’s first openly contested general election in a quarter century.
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