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    » 07/05/2012, 00.00


    Govt reshuffle in Myanmar empowers reformist wing

    Changes are expected at the top as three senior ministers close to hardliners are set to quit. Vice President Tin Aung Myint Oo has already resigned. He was viewed as a strong ally of Gen Than Shwe. Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi continue to work together.

    Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Several hardliners from the old military regime could leave Burma's top leadership in an imminent reshuffle. This includes one of the two vice presidents, Tin Aung Myint Oo, who has resigned for health reasons. He had already indicated his intention to quit and had disappeared from the public eye in May. A well known hardliner closely linked to former junta chief General Than Shwe, he had opposed the pro-democracy reform process undertaken by current President Thein Sein, which is backed by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Both Sein and Suu Kyi are viewed by many as the main promoters of Burma's changes.

    Three senior ministers are expected to be replaced soon by more moderate figures in the new line-up, government official sources said. "Those who are about to be reshuffled are known as hardliners," AFP reported said.

    The speaker for both houses of parliament announced the resignation of vice president Tin Aung Myint Oo. His successor will be chosen by the military appointees in parliament, 25 per cent of the total according to the constitution, before 10 July, to be later "approved" by both houses.  

    Changes in government leadership come at a crucial time for Myanmar. Led by reformist President Thein Sein, many new laws in the field of economics, trade union and press freedom have been introduced in the past year. Political prisoners have also been released. In many of these changes, Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD) played a role.

    The Nobel Prize laureate and 40 members of her party have been elected to parliament in free and fair by-elections held on 1 April

    Aung San Suu Kyi did not attend the recent opening of parliament. She is currently recuperating after an exhausting two-week European tour. Before taking her seat in Naypyidaw, she plans to visit her riding to meet her supporters.

    She will be in the capital next Monday to boost her party's presence and push for greater transparency in parliament.

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    See also

    23/03/2010 MYANMAR
    Aung San Suu Kyi's against NLD running in elections
    The Nobel Laureate denounces "unjust rules" that prevent a free and fair vote. Recently, the military regime issued a series of rules that in reality exclude her from running and prevent her from voting. The opposition leader, however, leaves the party "free to choose” according to democratic principles.

    30/03/2011 MYANMAR
    Than Shwe dissolves military junta as Thein Sein becomes Burmese president
    The new head of state will preside over a 30-member cabinet. North Korea, China and Iran send messages of well wishes. What role Than Shwe will play remains unclear; for 20 years, he ran the country.

    28/08/2012 MYANMAR
    Thein Sein's cabinet shuffle just a "smokescreen"
    The Burmese president removes members of the old guard to promote more reform-minded people. However, Burma expert says the changes have not altered the underlying power structure. "Unsolved problems" persist as the old elites benefit from new opportunities.

    31/03/2011 MYANMAR
    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.”

    United Nations: Thein Sein to build a "harmonious society" with Aung San Suu Kyi
    President acknowledges "crucial" role played by opposition leader, and reiterates the value of "diversity" as part of the country's rich heritage. Stability, the rule of law and economic growth are his main goals. GDP should reach 7.7 per cent by 2015. An independent, multi-faith commission should investigate anti-Rohingya violence.

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