» 10/26/2013, 00.00
Francis Khoo Thwe
Thein Sein's decision not to run paves the way for a challenge between Aung San Suu Kyi and Shwe Mann in 2015
Myanmar's current president will not seek a second mandate and will leave active politics, Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann said in announcing his decision to replace him, likely against opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. However, the constitution will have to be amended if the Nobel Prize laureate wants run for the highest office. Meanwhile, reforms are "very slow".
13/10/2010 MYANMAR – THAILAND
Aung San Suu Kyi will not vote in military’s election “farce”
Following her own party’s dissolution, the Nobel Peace Prize winner decides not to vote for any other party. If she did vote, she would be violating the military’s own law, which bans convicts from voting. Thai PM Abhisit meets junta leaders, discusses trade and border controls.
Thein Sein is Myanmar’s new president
The Burmese parliament elects the military junta’s outgoing prime minister with 408 votes. Thiha Thura Tin Aung Myint Oo (171 votes) and Sai Mauk Kham (75 votes) will be the new vice-presidents. Despite uncertainties about his role, strongman Than Shwe will continue to wield the real power.
The new government, a “puppet” in the hands of the military, says Burmese trade union leader
U Maung Maung stresses the absence of “new faces” in parliament, where most are military or former military. The new president plays “the role assigned to him,” but will not share power. Trade union leader urges the international community not to recognise the government. For him, the dictatorship is weakening, “a few more shoves in the right places will lead to its collapse.”
An alliance between Aung San Suu Kyi and Shwe Mann could be positive, local Catholic source says
Myanmar’s main opposition leader and the speaker of the lower house of parliament might be considering an alliance for the upcoming parliamentary election. Removed as chairman of his party, Shwe Mann is considered a prominent moderate figure. For a Catholic observer, an alliance between the two would be a good thing, but its impact on the election is hard to measure.
Underground campaign against junta’s new constitution
The junta is urging the population to approve the constitution, which legitimises its hold on power, with promises of democracy for 2010. In the meantime it is cracking down on all forms of dissent. For their part pro-democracy activists are engaged in an underground campaign for a No vote.
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