Burmese government to effectively make Suu Kyi the ‘president’s boss’
BURMA’S new civilian government advanced a bill in Parliament yesterday that would create a powerful new post for Aung San Suu Kyi, effectively elevating her over the president and giving her wide-ranging influence over the country’s administration.
The proposal would have Suu Kyi named as “state counselor” – a role that many diplomats and analysts are describing as a de facto prime minister. She would be provided a budget and would report directly to Parliament as per her functions.
Officially, the “state counselor” is given the mandate to advise the government in matters regarding the interests of the citizens, said Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), which holds strong majorities in both house of Parliament and proposed the bill.
But NLD lawmaker Khin Maung Myint described the position as “the president’s boss,” indicating that Suu Kyi’s party is helping her to achieve a pledge to be above President Htin Kyaw, who is her confidant.
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This new post for Suu Kyi would appear to be a deft move to circumvent a constitutional clause that bans her from being the country’s president. The NLD seemed to have homed in on the constitutional provision which allows the president to delegate his powers to other individuals and administrative bodies.
The move marked the first legislative act of Burma’s new civilian government, which took office a day earlier to become the first democratically elected after more than 50 years of military control.
Unsurprisingly, members of the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) accused Suu Kyi of monopolizing power for herself.
“It seems she wants to hold as many posts as she can,” U Hla Swe, a former USDP lawmaker, told the New York Times.
“Using her hands, feet and her teeth, she is holding those posts. I want to say she is crazy for power.”
Suu Kyi already leads four ministries – foreign affairs, education, energy, and the president’s office – leading many to dub her as a “super minister.”
She led her party to a landslide win in November elections, but is barred from the presidency by the junta-era constitution because her sons are foreign citizens.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press
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