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Aung San Suu Kyi in key role in Myanmar’s first democratic government in 50 years

Myanmar has sworn in its new president and appointed Aung San Suu Kyi in a key role as Minister of Foreign Affairs. She is also likely to become Advisor to the State.

Myanmar has sworn in its new president. As of the 30th of March U Htin Kyaw, an old friend and longstanding political ally of Aung San Suu Kyi, is the first civilian president the country has had in more than fifty years. On the same day the Lady, leader of Myanmar’s democratic movement and Chairman of the country’s ruling party, the National League of Democracy (NLD), was appointed as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

U Htin Kyaw (centre) © Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images
U Htin Kyaw (centre) © Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

Aung San Suu Kyi: the real government leader

Aung San Suu Kyi could not have become president, as established in the 2008 constitution. The military-drafted document states that citizens with foreign family members are ineligible for the country’s top post, and the Lady’s two sons are British. However, the democratic leader never hid the fact that she would guide the new government from behind the scenes. Given this, and reflecting the outcome of the country’s elections held in November 2015, a new government role has been tailored just for her: Advisor to the State.

Aung San Suu Kyi in key role

On top of becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aung San Suu Kyi will lead the President’s Office, the Ministry of Education and that of Electricity and Energy. The position of Advisor to the State doesn’t currently exist in Myanmar but a draft bill to enshrine it into law will be submitted to parliament in the coming weeks. Giving Aung San Suu Kyi effective power over key issues of government, this position resembles that of prime minister elsewhere.

 

In the new government the military, which holds a quarter of parliamentary seats, will lead three powerful ministries: Defence, Home Affairs and Border Affairs.

 

U Htin Kyaw’s powerful speech

“Our new government will implement national reconciliation, peace in the country, emergence of a constitution that will pave the way to a democratic union and enhance the living standard of the people”, said Myanmar’s new president during his swearing in oath in front of parliament.

 

memorabilia Aung Sun Suu Kyi
People buy memorabilia with Aung Sun Suu Kyi’s image © Lauren DeCicca / Getty Images

 

Emphasizing the government’s priority to change the constitution in favour of a democratic path, U Htin Kyaw confirmed his administration’s commitment to the decade-long movement led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and its respect for her leadership. The new government of Myanmar is due to start its mandate on the 1st of April.

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