The first freely elected parliament in Myanmar after 50 years of military rule held its opening session in Nay Pyi Taw. Hundreds of new MPs, from the National League for Democracy (NLD) and other smaller parties, were sworn in on February 1.
The NLD, led by Nobel-laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won 80% of contested seats in November 2015's historic election.
A quarter of all seats are reserved for the military, which also retains control of key ministries.
Myanmar still faces a long road to full democracy. The military retains 25% of seats in parliament, giving it a veto over constitutional changes. It also still controls key sectors of the economy and ministries such as defense, interior and border affairs. In addition, the army can take over the government under emergency legislation.
Parliament will pick a new president over the next few weeks after current President Thein Sein’s term ends in March. Suu Kyi is barred from the post because her children are foreign nationals.
Suu Kyi has been quoted as saying that she will serve “above” the president, but it's not clear how much influence she will be actually able to wield with the military generals still in place.
Myanmar's National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's identification is seen among new lawmakers before the opening of the new parliament in Naypyitaw February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun - RTX24UTN
After decades of struggle, hundreds of lawmakers from Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD formed Myanmar's ruling party on Monday, with enough seats in parliament to choose the first democratically elected government since the military took power in 1962. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun - RTX24UTH
New National League for Democracy lawmakers dressed in the traditional attire of a jacket, longyi and a turban with tassels arrive for the opening of the new parliament in Naypyitaw February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun - RTX24UTY