Myanmar is definitely on the cusp of a new era. The claim by the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party that Ms Aung San Suu Kyi had won the Kawhmu constituency and the announcement by state media that the party had won 40 of the 44 seats it contested is a turning point for the country and for Ms Suu Kyi who spent most of the past 22 years under arrest.
The 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner will now enter Parliament, a development that will strengthen the reform-oriented regime and hopefully open more doors to the West, which has been pressing for democratic reform in the country. The Myanmar Parliament continues to be dominated by the military junta and its allies and what needs to be seen is how much the present rulers are willing to go. The election indicates that the government wants reform but at a controlled pace. It was in 1990 that free elections were held in Myanmar, when the NLD led by Ms Suu Kyi won 80 per cent of the seats. However, the military refused to give up power and had her arrested. The return of Ms Suu Kyi to political life marks a complete turn around, which is good for Myanmar and democratic forces.