World / Asia-Pacific

Suu Kyi nominated to govt post

By Agencies in Naypyidaw, Myanmar (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-23 08:28

Blocked from presidency, observers say she is likely to at least assume role of foreign minister

Aung San Suu Kyi was nominated as a Cabinet minister in Myanmar's civilian government on Tuesday, giving her a formal position despite being blocked from the presidency in a nation ruled for decades by the military.

Suu Kyi, who has vowed to rule above the next president U Htin Kyaw, was named first in a list of ministers read out to lawmakers by the parliament speaker U Mann Win Khaing Than, who did not specify which position she or others would hold.

A parliamentary vote to confirm the posts was expected later in the week.

The NLD only named 15 ministers for 18 posts chosen by the civilian government, sparking speculation that Suu Kyi will take on four portfolios.

Suu Kyi is the sole woman and one of only six NLD members in the Cabinet, which also includes members from the main army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party in keeping with the NLD's pledge for a cabinet of national reconciliation.

Observers said Suu Kyi was likely to at least take the role of foreign minister, giving her a Cabinet post, international clout and a seat at the country's influential Security Council, which is dominated by the military.

Suu Kyi, 70, is blocked by the Constitution because her late husband was British, as are her two sons.

Under Myanmar's complex political rules, the Cabinet role means she will likely have to forego her formal position as head of her National League for Democracy, which she led to a stunning victory in historic November elections that were the freest in generations.

"I feel confident with this new government formation," said NLD upper house MP Myat Ngana Soe after the announcement, adding that Suu Kyi would continue to hold sway over the party.

'Heart of government'

Suu Kyi's ban from the presidency has been a thorn in the side of her party since it was allowed a space in parliament under the outgoing government led by President U Thein Sein.

She has held several rounds of talks with army chief U Min Aung Hlaing since the elections, but was unable to remove the constitutional barrier.

Taking a role in the Cabinet puts an end to speculation that she would opt for a position akin to India's Sonia Gandhi, who wielded huge influence despite having no official government role.

"She wants to be at the heart of government. She wants to do it properly, and formally, and, this is important to her, legally," said Trevor Wilson, an academic at the Australian National University and former ambassador to Myanmar.

AFP - AP - Xinhua

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