Suu Kyi to cement power with ‘advisor’ role

Myanmar / AFP

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party moved on Thursday to make her a special state adviser, giving her access to every tier of government and cementing her control over Myanmar’s first civilian administration in decades.
Hopes are growing the newly sworn-in government can accelerate the country’s economic and political rejuvenation after nearly half a century of military repression.
Banned from becoming president by a junta-era constitution, Suu Kyi has vowed to rule “above” the president and picked her school friend and close aide Htin Kyaw for the role.
She already holds four cabinet positions, including foreign minister, after her National League for Democracy (NLD) swept to power in elections last year.
A bill proposing a new position for Suu Kyi was submitted to parliament Thursday, in her party’s latest attempt to circumvent the ban on her leading the country.
Mentioning Suu Kyi by name, it says the role would give her “responsibility to the parliament regarding the performance of advice”, power to conduct any meetings deemed necessary and a budget.
The post would last for the same five-year term as the president and secure Suu Kyi’s access to the legislature, which she was forced to step down from when she joined the cabinet.
The move is expected to receive little resistance from chambers dominated by the NLD.
But it could provoke a military that has firmly stood in the way of the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s path to the top post.
It also raises questions about the 70-year-old’s ability to juggle several major posts in the new administration: foreign affairs, education, energy and the president’s office.
Critics say the roundabout arrangement could jam up a fledgling democracy stacked with novice politicians.

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