The Irrawaddy News Magazine [Covering Burma and Southeast Asia]

Than Shwe Officially Dissolves Junta
By WAI MOE Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Burma's military junta, which seized power in a 1988 coup, no longer officially exists following the new “Union Government” being sworn in on Wednesday morning, state media announced.

MRTV said on Wednesday that regime supremo Snr-Gen Than Shwe had signed into effect the dissolution of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Alongside the SPDC, other state /division level, district level, township level and ward/ village level Peace and Development Council offices have been dissolved and ordered to close by the Burmese dictator.

The move coincided with President Thein Sein’s announcement of all the appointed ministers to the new government. According to MRTV, Maj-Gen Hla Min is the new minister of defense, Lt-Gen Ko Ko is minister of home affairs, Maj-Gen Thein Htay has been appointed as both minister of border affairs and minister of national industrial development, while ex-military officer Wanna Maung Lwin has been assigned the role of foreign minister.

Under the 2008 constitution, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces has the authority to appoint the ministers of defense, home affairs, and border affairs.

On Wednesday, military sources in Naypyidaw said Gen Min Aung Hlaing, currently the joint chief of staff (army, navy, air force), will be appointed Than Shwe's successor as commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw [armed forces], confirming previous speculation among many military observers.

Although the SPDC may officially have ceased to exist, military sources said that Than Shwe and top junta officials—such as Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye, ex-Gen Shwe Mann (current Lower House speaker), ex-Gen Thein Sein (current president), ex-Gen Tin Aung Myint Oo (current vice-president), ex Lt-Gen Tin Aye (current Union Election Commission chairman) and Min Aung Hlaing—through their power within the “Supreme Council,” will continue to be the de facto leaders of the country.

Like the North Korean model, Than Shwe will be de facto head of state of the Republic of Union of Myanmar like Kim Jong Il, while President Thein Sein will be de jure head of state like Kim Yong Nam, the sources said.

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