Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to Be Minister in New Opposition Government

 
 

Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will be a minister in the country’s new government headed by her close aide and president-elect U Htin Kyaw, according to a list of nominees for cabinet positions disclosed Tuesday in parliament.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Laureate whose National League for Democracy (NLD) won historic elections in Myanmar last November, is barred from the presidency herself, leading to speculation about what sort of role she would assume in the country’s new government led by Htin Kyaw, a close aide  (See: “Myanmar’s Opposition Clinches Majority in Historic Election Win”). Suu Kyi herself had said she would be “above the presidency,” without specifying whether or not she would take on an official post in addition to her role as the head of the NLD.

Suu Kyi’s inclusion in the list of 18 ministers submitted to parliament on Tuesday – she is the only woman on that list – would appear to confirm that she will indeed take up a cabinet post.

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That said, there is not yet official confirmation about the specific portfolio she would adopt. As I outlined in a previous piece, one role would be foreign minister, a key post since it is the only civilian minister post in the powerful, 11-member National Defense and Security Council, which brings together the military and the government and oversees policy (See: “Who Will Be Myanmar’s Next President?”). In this case, she would have a direct vote in the Council – it currently favors the military which would have six members as opposed to five NLD representatives.

But a leaked document suggested that in addition to the foreign affairs portfolio, she would also be in charge of energy and education as well as be a minister in the president’s office – four separate positions instead of just one.

Parliament is now expected to vote to confirm the designated posts. If Suu Kyi ends up accepting and holding a cabinet position, she will need to step down from her current post as a member of parliament and cease all NLD-related activities. The new government is expected to assume office April 1.

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