Hundreds of newly elected legislators, a majority of them from pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party, have begun a parliament session that will install their government and elect a new president.

The session on Monday marks a historic turnaround for the National League for Democracy party, which for years was suppressed by the military. The party won 80 percent of the elected seats in general elections in November, qualifying it to form a government.

The Southeast Asian nation started moving from a half-century of dictatorship toward democracy in 2011, when military rulers inexplicably agreed to hand over power to a nominally civilian government headed by President Thein Sein, a general turned reformist. He will stand down in late March or early April when an NLD president will take over.