Adviser Denies Hinting Govt Role for Suu Kyi
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Adviser Denies Hinting Govt Role for Suu Kyi

By THE IRRAWADDY Monday, January 9, 2012

A Burmese mother and son walk past a roadside shop selling posters of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Rangoon. (Photo:AP)

A Burmese presidential adviser has denied that he said that pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi could be appointed to the government if she wins a parliamentary seat in the coming by-elections.

On Sunday, media reports quoted presidential adviser Dr. Nay Zin Latt as saying that Suu Kyi could possibly be appointed to the government if she won a seat in the by-elections scheduled for April 1.

But Nay Zin Latt denied having made such a comment, and said that he only mentioned the possibility of Suu Kyi being elected as “chair” of a parliamentary committee if she was elected an MP.

“I did not say that she would get a government position after winning the elections. I only said that the majority in parliament, if they wish, can choose her to chair a parliamentary position,” he said in an interview with The Irrawaddy on Monday.

“In fact, the president can appoint anyone to the government—whether he or she is an MP or not,” he added, referring to a constitutional statement granting the country's president the power to appoint Cabinet members who are not necessarily required to be elected officials.

However, there is every possibility of Suu Kyi being offered a government position given the apparently comfortable relationship built between Suu Kyi and ex-general President Thein Sein after their meeting in August last year.

Since that meeting in Naypyidaw, Suu Kyi has made a string of positive statements about Thein Sein's personality, and has assured a skeptical public that he nurtures a genuine desire for reform. It was this desire that convinced her to contest a parliamentary seat in the by-elections.

Last Wednesday, the Nobel Laureate reiterated her confidence in Thein Sein even after public criticism mounted against him over a government amnesty that saw the release of just over 30 political prisoners in the country. She also appealed to frustrated opposition activists to “keep a cool head” and be hopeful of a further release of political prisoners, while expressing concerns about how far the army would be willing to support democratic reforms.

But the activists' impatience over continued the detention of their political comrades became public on Sunday when they took to the streets and visited the families of 15 political prisoners in Rangoon townships.

“We aim to pressure the government into releasing all remaining political prisoners. We are going to have this campaign every Sunday and visit family members of jailed political colleagues,” said Myat Thu, one of the organizers of the campaign.

Myat Thu is himself a former political prisoner who has been arrested twice for political activities. Speaking with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in Rangoon last week, he said that the Burmese army continues to play a dominant role in the country's politics and is possibly blocking the release of political prisoners.

“We are going to have a mass prayer in the near future as part of this Sunday campaign,” he said. “But this is not an act against what Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is doing. This is just to add pressure on the government to release political prisoners, instead of dumping wishful thinking on us.”

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Hein Wrote:
ahh I didn't realize that Burma has a "hybrid" system. I think what's even more interesting is the fact that the President is not considered Commander-in-Chief.

Myanmar Patriots Wrote:
No Burmese army is not blocking the release of the prisoners- the pawns in the chess game.

Political prisoners MUST be released. And they WILL be released.

KML Wrote:
I agree the views of Hein, Independent thinker & ATH on strict constitutional term. But it seems the country is still in formative stage and everything is negotiable, convertible & amendable. The legitimacy of 2008 constitution is still highly questionable but politicians from all pages are working positively on that platform.
Regarding President & Prime Minster systems, we don’t want to see something like Putin & Madyadev switching each other in Burma.
In my opinion, at this transition, President U Thein Sein should be the Head of State ( President) looking after the Sovereignty , Integrity & Unity ( main slogans ) and DASSK should be the Head of Government ( Prime Minister) for day to day running of the country. DASSK will definitely attract better cooperation from within and from outside for the best interest of the country leading to more representative form of democracy. People normally choose head of the government in democracy and not very much bothered who is the head of state.

linn Wrote:
I like Oo Maung Gyi comment. I have prepared for unity and follow Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

ATH Wrote:
There is no Prime Minister position in new Myanmar Government structure because it is Presidential Model, not the Parliamentary Model. A person cannot be in Legislative branch and Executive branch at the same time which means if a MP is selected for a position in the Government, he/she has to resigned from MP position.

independent thinker Wrote:
In response to Hein's comments below:
This depends on whether a country's political system practies a what can be roughly called a Prime-Misterial system (or Westminster system) or Presidential system. To give an example the Prime Minister of UK, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore (and all of the Ministers in UK) are members of the Legislature. They attended the Legislature and report to it. The prime example of a "Presidential system" is the United States where the President and his cabinet (called 'Secretaries') are not members of the Congress though their appointment has to be approved by the Congress. And unlike in the UK, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore they do not 'report' to the Congress. The current Burmese 2008 Constitution is somewhat of a (military) Presidential system where members of the Legislature has to resign if they are appointed by the President. So in Prime Ministerial systems (generally) a person can occupy a position in both the Legislature and Executive and in Presidential systems they cannot.

Hein Wrote:
I'm a little confused though. How can someone be in the Legislature AND the Executive office at the same time? Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of having checks and balances?

KML Wrote:
The most likely position for DASSK is “The Prime Minister” in the current hybrid government. The position has been vacant from the beginning of this government. Necessary amendment on legislation is easy. There have been a lot of amendments in Jan 5 NLM. A minister in the President’s office and Tenemsserim Chief Minister resigned on health reasons, probably to give way for by-election. Everything is transparent. At the end of the day what we want is functioning government for the reconstruction of the country; respect the rights of ethnic minorities. Dear President U Thein Sein, How about remaining political prisoners? Next Thin-Gyan is three month to go and they also deserve to enjoy with their wives and children.

Ko Ko La Min Wrote:
See,not only Dr. Nay Z Latt, almost all of them (military government) we cannot trust until they are proven trustworthy. Probably when no more green beast(mg) in government.
I think they are playing Daw Su for their own benefit.

Oo Maung Gyi Wrote:
Political activities should do peacefully. Do not throw dust in the eye of authority. Time will be sure approaching to release all political prisoners. The government can not effort to keep political prisoners another one year, just wait and see. No necessary to show our strength of unity at this time, when the time comes every body should comes out from their house to show up unity behind Aung San Suu Kyi. That will end the dictatorship and full democracy will prevail in Burma, then the Tatmadaw will become real son of the peoples of Burma.

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