This mission jointly organized by International IDEA came at a critical juncture in Myanmar’s transition to democracy, after the opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD) won the elections but before the outgoing government has ceded power. This visit sought to promote national reconciliation and a continuation of the peace process through high-level engagement with different sides on these key issues for Myanmar’s future.
In her meeting with President U Thein Sein, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga acknowledged the efforts President Thein Sein’s administration had undertaken regarding Myanmar’s road to democracy. She stressed the success of the recent elections and engaged in a discussion about the different challenges the country faces ahead. President Thein Sein mentioned that experiences and lessons from Sir Lanka are very relevant for Myanmar since both countries shared historical and cultural common links.
President Kumaratunga had bilateral meetings with the Speaker of the Parliament Thura Shwe Mann and the Chair of the Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC), Tin Aye. She congratulated them on the successfully held elections and offered her support on the peace and transition process ahead.
The Club de Madrid Member participated in a Roundtable with civil society organisations about the peace process beyond the signing of the NCA and the outcome of the recent elections. President Kumaratunga shared her experiences and perspectives on Sri Lanka’s peace process. She mentioned that “sometimes we need to move forward together within a common goal”. President Kumaratunga also emphasized the importance of the role that CSOs can play in transition processes highlighting the positive example of the civil society role in Sri Lanka.
The mission also included bilateral meetings with the Patron and senior representatives of the elections winner National League for Democracy, Hope International, a lunch with the Ambassadors of the European Union, Spain and Indian to Myanmar and a dinner about national reconciliation and the peace process with representatives of ethnic armed groups hosted by the Norwegian Ambassador.
Research Consultant, Club of Madrid Shared Societies Project Policy and Content Coordinator