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Church \ Church in Asia

Catholic leaders hopeful after Myanmar elections

A portrait of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is displayed on the facade of the National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon. - AFP

A portrait of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is displayed on the facade of the National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon. - AFP

11/11/2015 08:45

(Vatican Radio) The head of Myanmar's National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Wednesday  requested a meeting with the president and the head of the military to discuss national reconciliation.

 The NLD has won a landslide victory in elections, and looks to gain a majority in the national parliament, as well as most of the nation’s regional assemblies.

The country has been ruled by the military for 50 years, although it handed power to nominally civilian government headed by former general Thein Sein in 2011. The military, which retains a quarter of the seats in parliament, has said it will respect the results of the elections.

Catholic leaders are also cautiously optimistic.

"We have high hopes,” said  John Hsane Hgyi, Bishop of Pathein. “This opens a new era for our country, which we hope will be marked by unity. People are happy and it seems there are no risks of a military coup"

In an interview with the Fides New Agency, the bishop  said "new democratic era brings change and freedom, of which the Catholic Church will benefit, and its mission to proclaim the Gospel.”

He added he Catholic faithful are as happy as all other citizens.

“We are confident in a future of unity, reconciliation and harmony: these are the challenges for the future of the country,” he said.

However, Khon Ja Labang, a Catholic member of the Kachin Peace Network, told the Asianews service that although she is happy the opposition won, she worries about the “actual capacity to govern” of the NLD.

She is especially concerned about justice issues for the Myanmar’s many ethnic minorities, including the Kachin.

11/11/2015 08:45