Myanmar's army chief vows to keep nation on path to democracy

Myanmar’s senior general vows to keep nation on path to democracy in military parade days before Suu Kyi’s government takes office

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander in chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces, inspects troops during a ceremony to mark the 71st Armed Forces Day in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw on March 27, 2016.

Updated Mar 29, 2016

Myanmar's powerful army chief vowed on Sunday to keep the nation "on the path to democracy," days before Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government takes office, after 54 years of rule by the junta or its proxy.

"I would solemnly impart the fact that the Tatmadaw [army] will cooperate to bring about the prosperity of the Union and its citizens," Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said to the troops at the annual Armed Forces Day parade in the capital Naypyidaw.

"The two main obstacles to democratisation are a failure to abide by the rule of law and regulations and the presence of armed insurgencies. These could lead to chaotic democracy," he added.

"Only if these two obstacles are properly tackled and overcome will there be advancement on the path to democracy."

Myanmar's newly elected president Htin Kyaw (2nd L) and National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi (C) leave the parliament at Naypyitaw, Myanmar March 15, 2016.

Myanmar has been passing through political transformation since the end of the junta rule in 2011, which eventually led Aung San Suu Kyi to lead her National League for Democracy to victory in the November 2015 elections.

Suu Kyi’s government will take over from the outgoing army-backed administration on April 1.

Yet the army will still have a strong role in the country, with 25 percent of the parliament belonging to its unelected generals. This guarantees that no government can amend the constitution without the army’s approval.

It will also keep three key ministries - home affairs, border affairs and defence.

The constitution bars Suu Kyi to take the top office but she has vowed to run the country anyway through a proxy. Her aide Htin Kyaw will take presidency, while Suu Kyi will be the foreign minister.

Her government will face a range of challenges including poverty, corruption and years of chronic under-investment.

TRTWorld and agencies