After more than 50 years of military rule, Burma has sworn in hundreds of lawmakers in the country’s first democratically elected parliament.
The inaugural session on Monday in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital, came three months after the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won 80 percent of contested seats in the two-house parliament, defeating the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party. The country, also known as Myanmar, has been under army control since 1962.
Old and new lawmakers marked the transition with dance, karaoke, and jokes in the parliament chambers Friday, reported EFE, the Spanish news agency.
NLD members, including Suu Kyi, had been imprisoned for years by the ruling junta. The party previously won elections in 1990, but the military government voided the results and placed Suu Kyi under house arrest for 15 years.
“I never imagined that our party would be able to form the government,” Khin Maung Myint, an NLD member, told the Associated Press Monday. “Even the public didn’t think we could have an NLD government. But now it is like a shock to us and to the world, too.”
A quarter of the 664-seat parliament remains reserved for military. Members of smaller, non-military parties were also sworn in Monday.