Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to head parliamentary group

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been named chair of a parliamentary team, the National League for Democracy announced yesterday, fuelling expectations that the democracy icon does not intend to take a formal position in the new government.

The NLD leader posted a statement on her Facebook page that listed her as chair of the Hluttaw Development Coordination Team, which met yesterday with representatives of international organisations and foreign embassies in parliament.

The NLD statement immediately prompted a flurry of posts on social media over whether the position

indicated Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had decided not to become a member of the executive branch. The hluttaw coordination team, which MPs specified did not have the same status as a committee, comprises five MPs, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and three senior parliamentary officials.

The statement said the team was formed by the lower house “in accordance with parliamentary law and by-law”.

Parliamentary officials and MPs confirmed that membership of the hluttaw team excluded the possibility of also serving in government. However they noted it was still possible that the NLD leader could decide to leave the team and become a minister.

Government ministers are to take office on April 1 under U Htin Kyaw who was confirmed by parliament as president-elect this week, serving as proxy for the NLD leader because of the constitutional provision that bars her from the presidency. She has vowed to ruled “above the president” and some analysts suggested she would assume the role as foreign minister, the only other post that would allow her access to the shadowy National Defence and Security Council.

One senior NLD official said yesterday that he believed Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would still appoint herself foreign minister so that she could be directly involved in NDSC meetings where the military holds a majority of the 11 seats. Exactly what the council is responsible for remains a mystery, although the

constitution grants the body the power to declare a state of emergency and grant amnesties.

U Ye Myo Hein, executive director of Tagaung Institute said he believes Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will retain her position as party chief and parliamentarian, controlling the shape of the administration through the legislative arm.

“If she takes a position in the executive, then she will have to cut ties with her party and parliament, in which her party holds a majority. Remaining as a parliamentarian, she can influence all three spheres working with the government, her party and the parliament,” he said.

“She will effectively formulate negotiations with her confidants and allow them to do the work inside the NDSC while she acts as a party and parliamentarian head,” he added.

U Phyo Zayar Thaw, MP of Zabuthiri township who is also a member of the team, described it as an ad hoc group with the purpose of capacity building for MPs and parliamentary staff.

A similar body existed in the previous parliament called the Joint Coordination Committee on Hluttaw Development, chaired by U Hla Myint Oo of the Union Solidarity and Development Party.

Last September, he said capacity development programs had begun in 2014, coordinated with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. As a result parliament was able to sign collaborative projects with Germany and the Inter-Parliamentary Union as well as the UNDP.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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