Myanmar's parliament opens under tight security

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 31, 2011 08:38




NAYPYITAW, Myanmar — Myanmar opened its first parliament in more then two decades Monday, an event greeted with cautious optimism by opposition lawmakers despite the military's tight management of the event.

The military and its allies hold more than 80 percent of the seats in both houses of parliament, ensuring that the army can exercise control over the wheels of power, as it has since a 1962 coup deposed the last legitimately elected legislature. A single-party parliament under the late dictator Gen. Ne Win was abolished in 1988 after the army crushed a pro-democracy uprising.

The 440-seat lower house and 224-seat upper house were opened simultaneously at 8:55 a.m. (0225 GMT) in a massive new building in Naypyitaw, the remote city to which the capital was moved from Yangon in 2005. The 14 regional parliaments, whose members were also elected last November, were to open at the same time.


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