What you need to know
President-elect Htin Kyaw has nominated Aung San Suu Kyi for four cabinet posts, including minister of the president's office, foreign affairs, energy and education. She might end up assuming more than one post in the cabinet and become the de facto head of government to lead the country.
Compiled by Bing-sheng Lee
President-elect Htin Kyaw has nominated Aung San Suu Kyi for four cabinet posts, including minister of the president’s office, foreign affairs, energy and education. She might end up assuming more than one post in the cabinet and become the de facto head of government to lead the country.
Myanmar’s president-elect Htin Kyaw has submitted a list of 18 proposed cabinet ministers to the Parliament for a formal review. The names on the list were announced during a parliament session that lasted less than 15 minutes in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, on the morning of March 22.
The parliament speaker, Mann Win Khaing Than, only read out names and did not specify which portfolios the prospective ministers would take.
A separate list obtained by Reuters, which is reportedly from parliament sources, shows that Aung San Suu Kyi, chairwoman of the National League for Democracy (NLD), is nominated to four cabinet posts, including minister of the president’s office, foreign affairs, energy and education.
“It doesn’t matter how many ministries she takes as she will run the whole government anyway,” says Win Htein, a senior NLD politician close to Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aung San Suu Kyi, 70, is the only woman on the proposed list.
If Aung San Suu Kyi assumes the posts in the cabinet, she would have to give up her seat in the Parliament and leadership of the NLD because Myanmar’s constitution prohibits serving ministers from political party campaigns or working as lawmakers.
Nyantha Maw Lin, the managing director at political consultancy Vriens & Partners in Yangon, says, “Aung San Suu Kyi will entrust the party in parliament to the hands of other NLD elders, as expected, and assume a role within the cabinet.”
“She understands that ultimately, power lies with the executive, which holds the reins on the peace process, foreign policy, the economy and, most importantly, relations with the military,” adds Nyantha.
Yet, Maung Zarni, a researcher at the London School for Economics, tells Voice of America that the military is still a strong force in the government and it would not easily permit the NLD to implement many reforms to the political system.
Zaw Myint Maung, spokesman for the NLD, told Agence France-Presse that Aung San Suu Kyi would “mainly" serve as a foreign minister. The top seat at the foreign ministry would give her a position in the National Defence and Security Council with the president, two vice-presidents and the chief of the armed forces. It would also provide her with representation internationally.
Nyantha also notes, ”Early indications are that Aung San Suu Kyi will take up more than one ministership. This will allow her to create a de facto head of government role for herself, and leave the head of state role to Htin Kyaw."
The new government of Myanmar takes office in April.
Edited by Olivia Yang
“Aung San Suu Kyi to hold ministry in Myanmar’s government” (The Guardian)
“Aung San Suu Kyi may take up multiple roles in new Myanmar government” (The Straits Times)
“Aung San Suu Kyi Nominated to Myanmar’s Cabinet” (Voice of America)
“Aung San Suu Kyi set for Myanmar cabinet role” (The Financial Times)
“Aung San Suu Kyi to run Myanmar foreign ministry” (BBC)