The sight of hundreds of freely elected members of Myanmar’s Parliament — former political prisoners among them — at the opening of its legislative session earlier this month was testament to the Southeast Asian country’s extraordinary journey from military-run pariah state to would-be democracy. Only five years ago, Myanmar was under the control of a military junta with little respect for elections. But last November, the opposition National League for Democracy Party, led by the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, won an astonishing 80% of the contested seats in Parliament.
The rule preventing her from running is absurd, and the constitution needs to be amended. But as she and her party negotiate with the military to form a government, they must be careful not to cede even more authority to the military in their eagerness to open the presidency to Suu Kyi. For instance, the military should not be granted more high-level posts, as some analysts have suggested they might be. That’s not a compromise, that’s a sacrifice of the trust that Myanmar voters put in the pro-democracy party to move the government further away from military control and toward a fully democratically run government.