Myanmar’s upper house approved a bill on Friday creating a new “advisor to the state” post for election victor Aung San Suu Kyi, further formalising her role as the country’s leader despite a constitutional clause barring her from the presidency.
Two days after Suu Kyi was sworn into four ministerial posts, including Foreign Minister, the upper house voted in favour of the government appointing her as advisor to the state -- a post that would see her fulfill a role similar to that of a prime minister.
As lawmakers from the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party and appointed military MPs strongly objected to the measure, parliament Speaker Mann Win Khiang Than called for a one-hour break.
The bill, however, was approved 137 to 70 once the session resumed at 1 pm (0630GMT) Man Win Khiang Than said the bill will be forwarded to lower house next week.
As both houses are dominated by NLD members, the bill -- which would give Suu Kyi the power to work on all key issues of government and meet whoever she pleases -- appears set for approval. Soe Myaint Aung from the Yangon-based Tagaung Institute of Political Studies told Anadolu Agency that the legislation is also likely to pass the lower house.
“Then Aung San Suu Kyi will have legal influence over the executive and legislative sectors,” he said by phone. The new role is widely seen as an attempt to protect Suu Kyi from accusations that she is acting unconstitutionally by taking on so much power.
Besides taking the Foreign Minister office and three other top posts in the new cabinet announced this week, Suu Kyi was also be included in the 11-member National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) formed by newly sworn-in President Htin Kyaw on Thursday.
The military-drafted constitution states the 11-member NDSC is the highest authority in the government, and grants powers to impose martial law, disband parliament, and rule directly, but only if the president declares a state of emergency.
However, it also provides a legal channel for the military to re-impose direct military rule in the country as six of its member are military members, including the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.