Suu Kyi to steer Myanmar government as party head

Myanmar Nobel laureate Aung Suu Kyi will rule new government, staying as head of her party

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during a campaign rally a head coming general elections in Yangon November 1, 2015.

Myanmar Nobel laureate Aung Suu Kyi will rule the new government, staying as the head of her party, National League for Democracy (NLD) due to her situation disallowing to take a formal position in the government.

The democracy icon, Suu Kyi’s NLD party was the winner of November 8th election, receiving major votes.

The new administration will be the first democratically elected government since 1960’s coup d'etat in Myanmar after it takes office earlier next year. 

However, Suu Kyi is not able to become president based on a constitution draft which bars her from the top office because her two children are foreign citizens.

Myanmar's parliament last week elected Htin Kyaw, a close friend and confidant of the Nobel peace prize laureate, as president, making him the first head of state.

Suu Kyi has vowed to defy the constitution described by senior NLD members as "ridiculous," pledging to run the country from "above the president."

The party has not clarified how such an arrangement would be implemented, fuelling speculation about possible positions Suu Kyi might assume after the government takes office on April 1.

"Taking positions is not that important any more...In the United States there are many famous lawmakers in the parliament who are very influential, but they don't take any position in the cabinet," Zaw Myint Maung, the NLD spokesman and one of its leaders, told Reuters late on Sunday.

"It's the same here. She will lead the [ruling] party so, she will [by extension] lead the government formed by that party," said the spokesman, in the most detailed remarks on the issue by a senior NLD politician to date.

He did not elaborate on the party's plans.

Win Htein, another top NLD leader and Suu Kyi confidant said in November that Suu Kyi could be "something like Sonia Gandhi."

Suu Kyi herself said in October that her plan was not "quite like that," but she did not provide details on her plans.

Gandhi is the Italian-born widow of the late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. As leader of the Congress party, she dominated the government of former Prime Minister Mahmohan Singh before it fell from power in 2014.

Myanmar's powerful military holds a quarter of parliamentary seats and the constitutional right to nominate one of the three presidential candidates. Its candidate, retired General Myint Swe, last week became the country's first vice president.

The NLD spokesman said that on Monday president-elect Htin Kyaw would speak in parliament about reducing the number of government ministries. Last week the NLD said it would slash the number of ministries by about a third to 21.

TRTWorld, Reuters