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Suu Kyi consolidates power in parliament

5 April 2016 10:32 AM
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Aung San Suu Kyi has consolidated her power in the new Myanmar government, as parliament created a post of state counsellor specifically for her.

The state counsellor bill was approved by the lower house on Tuesday and the upper house last week. Both houses are dominated by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, which won a historic election victory in November.

The state counsellor, similarly to a prime minister, will be able to work across all key issues of government.

The 110 military members of parliament in the lower house were not granted a request for more time to consider their position, and did not take part in the vote.

'As the separate chapters and articles were passed by the majority of lawmakers, the entire bill was approved,' lower house Speaker Win Myint announced on Tuesday.

Suu Kyi cannot be president because the constitution bars from top office anyone with immediate family loyal to another country, and her two sons are British citizens.

But she has established herself as the most powerful figure in the new government by installing a longtime friend and ally, Htin Kyaw, as president, and by awarding herself senior ministerial posts.

The union parliament - a combined sitting of both houses - on Tuesday also approved the reallocation of the ministries of education and energy that Suu Kyi was sworn in to last week.

The Nobel Peace laureate still holds the post of foreign minister and another position in the President's Office.

The state counsellor legislation, which mentions Suu Kyi by name, states that the term of office is the same as the president's, whose term matches the five-year duration of the parliament.

'This is the way we have chosen for Daw Suu to overcome the constitutional barrier,' Win Htein told DPA by phone, using an honorific for Aung San Suu Kyi.


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