Myanmar’s new parliament to start sessions on February 1

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Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-in parliamentMyanmar’s newly-elect parliament will convene on February 1, Shwe Mann, speaker of the House of Representatives, or lower house, said, ushering in a new era of democratic reform under a government led by the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

The current parliament under the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) will hold its final meeting on January 29, and its session will end two days later, Mann said, adding that he will select a temporary parliamentary speaker who, in turn, will appoint the two new permanent speakers of the lower and upper houses after they are elected by lawmakers.

Both upper and lower houses of parliament and the military, which holds a quarter of the seats in the legislature by appointment, will each put forth a candidate for president. Lawmakers will cast votes for the candidates, and the winner will become president, while the others fill the two vice presidential slots.

The NLD, which won roughly 80 per cent of the vote in the general election on November 8 which allows it to form a new government independently under the constitution, has not yet revealed the names of those it intends to put forward for the nation’s top post. NLD chairwoman Suu Kyi cannot become president because the constitution bars anyone with close foreign relatives from assuming the office.

Nevertheless, she has said that she will occupy “a position above the president” in the new government, but has provided no details yet. In fact, she was re-elected as a representative to the lower house.

The new government must be formed before March 31, the date on which the current government will be dissolved. On the following day, President Thein Sein will transfer power to the new president.

However, observers say the current constitution will make it difficult for Suu Kyi to bring about full change in the country soon. Myanmar’s residual political complexities are not easy to be solved since the constitution gives the army sweeping powers and ensures the full safeguard of its institutional interests. There is also no provision in the constitution under which inappropriate behaviour of the army could be challenged.

Moreover, the all-powerful defense and home ministries remain with the army through which it can continue to control most of the administration in the country.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Myanmar’s newly-elect parliament will convene on February 1, Shwe Mann, speaker of the House of Representatives, or lower house, said, ushering in a new era of democratic reform under a government led by the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-in parliamentMyanmar’s newly-elect parliament will convene on February 1, Shwe Mann, speaker of the House of Representatives, or lower house, said, ushering in a new era of democratic reform under a government led by the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.

The current parliament under the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) will hold its final meeting on January 29, and its session will end two days later, Mann said, adding that he will select a temporary parliamentary speaker who, in turn, will appoint the two new permanent speakers of the lower and upper houses after they are elected by lawmakers.

Both upper and lower houses of parliament and the military, which holds a quarter of the seats in the legislature by appointment, will each put forth a candidate for president. Lawmakers will cast votes for the candidates, and the winner will become president, while the others fill the two vice presidential slots.

The NLD, which won roughly 80 per cent of the vote in the general election on November 8 which allows it to form a new government independently under the constitution, has not yet revealed the names of those it intends to put forward for the nation’s top post. NLD chairwoman Suu Kyi cannot become president because the constitution bars anyone with close foreign relatives from assuming the office.

Nevertheless, she has said that she will occupy “a position above the president” in the new government, but has provided no details yet. In fact, she was re-elected as a representative to the lower house.

The new government must be formed before March 31, the date on which the current government will be dissolved. On the following day, President Thein Sein will transfer power to the new president.

However, observers say the current constitution will make it difficult for Suu Kyi to bring about full change in the country soon. Myanmar’s residual political complexities are not easy to be solved since the constitution gives the army sweeping powers and ensures the full safeguard of its institutional interests. There is also no provision in the constitution under which inappropriate behaviour of the army could be challenged.

Moreover, the all-powerful defense and home ministries remain with the army through which it can continue to control most of the administration in the country.

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