Tin Oo, 88, co-founder of the National League for Democracy (NLD), spent almost seven years in prison and under house arrest under the military junta that ran the country before 2011, when military rule was replaced by a quasi-civilian government. In an interview with reporter Khin Maung Soe of RFA’s Myanmar Service, the retired general, former commander in chief of Myanmar's armed forces and trusted patron of NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi offers his views on how the country's political situation will play out after the NLD's expected landslide election victory.
RFA: How much do you know so far about the election results?
Tin Oo: As far as we know, the NLD won an average of 80% although we haven’t learned the complete official result yet.
RFA: With this 80%, how will parliament be made up?
Tin Oo: It will be better than before to work in the parliament with 80%, but we still need more because the military MPs in parliament will sound the same. If we can collaborate with ethnic MPs who are willing to work with NLD, it will be much better.
RFA: How will the NLD’s relationship with military be?
Tin Oo: The military will not like being asked to move out from the parliament. They (people from military) have to say something to people, as they understand what democracy is. They already said they will reduce their force from the country’s political sector. By now, the senior general would have understood the true determination of the people. All citizens would be happy if he says the military will no longer demand 25% of parliamentary seats. This will give him dignity and lead the military to resume its status as people's military.
RFA: What do you think is the reason why the NLD won?
Tin Oo: This time is the General Aung San’s 100-year anniversary and his daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi, is leading NLD. She has had enough political experience and people really want to change. That’s why. Especially, we won because of the people’s power.
RFA: So what will the NLD do?
Tin Oo: I think Aung San Suu Kyi will start working for reconciliation first. She also cares about rules and laws and we still need to amend the 2008 constitution. Ethnic problems are very important, too. As long as we don’t have trust from ethnic people and we are not united with them, we will face difficulties in moving on. The country will change anyway. Her influence on people is unbelievable. People listen to whatever she asks of them.
RFA: Do you believe that Aung San Suu Kyi will become president?
Tin Oo: I do. That’s why I am helping and working for her.
Reported by Khin Maung Soe for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar.