Ministerial nominees revealed, Suu Kyi to take govt role

By SOE THAN LYNN in NAY PYI TAW,
SEAN GLEESON & MRATT KYAW THU in YANGON

Updated 4pm with ministerial biographies.

National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is among the 18 candidates nominated for ministerial positions in the next government, announced in a joint sitting of Union Parliament in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday morning.

Earlier reports suggested that Suu Kyi would seek appointment as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which would allow her to sit on the powerful National Defence and Security Council. Several outlets have reported on Tuesday that the party leader would also be assigned a President’s Office ministry and responsibility for Electric Power, Energy and Education.

Suu Kyi was the only female nominated for a cabinet role in Tuesday’s session.

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Among the other individuals nominated are retired military officer Thura U Aung Ko, formerly of the Union Solidarity and Development Party and a factional ally of former USDP chairman Thura U Shwe Mann. Aung Ko cut his ties with the USDP at the end of January, nearly six months after he was stripped of his post on the party’s central executive committee during the August 2015 purge of Shwe Mann loyalists.

Fellow Shwe Mann ally U Thein Swe, rumoured to be the next Minister of Labour, Immigration and Population, is the USDP’s incumbent for Rakhine State’s Ann Township in the Pyithu Hluttaw.

Aung Ko served as a minister from 1997-2010 under the previous military regime. He is rumoured to be taking responsibility for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.

Dr Aung Thu, the former rector of Yangon University, will leave his seat of Yangon-6 in the Amyotha Hluttaw to take a cabinet post. He had previously served on the NLD’s power transfer team — set up after the election to facilitate the transition to the next government — alongside party elders Dr Myo Aung and U Win Htein.

Naing Thet Lwin, the vice-chairman of the Mon National Party, is widely expected to take responsibility for the newly-created Ministry of Ethnic Affairs.

The military has nominated Lt-Gen Sein Win, Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe and Lt-Gen Ye Aung to assume the cabinet roles constitutionally set aside for military appointees. The men will oversee the Defence, Home Affairs and Border Affairs ministries in some combination.

Sein Win and Kyaw Swe were appointed by outgoing President U Thein Sein as Defence and Border Affairs ministers respectively during the August 2015 cabinet reshuffle, after their predecessors were reassigned to their previous military responsibilities.

The military’s nominees signal an end to the ministerial career of controversial career officer Lt-Gen Ko Ko. In 2014, the outgoing Minister for Home Affairs was among several senior military figures accused of war crimes by Harvard Law School researchers for his role in an offensive against Karen rebels from 2005-2008.

A total of 21 ministries will operate under the next government after it assumes office on April 1, after a proposal to consolidate the existing 36 ministries was approved by Union Parliament on Monday. Specific ministries have yet to be formally assigned to cabinet nominees.

The proposed list of ministers will be vetted by the next joint sitting on Thursday, a process likely to be a formality. Under the terms of the Constitution, lawmakers can only reject presidential nominations if candidates fail to meet set age and residency criteria.

Civilian nominees:

1. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Likely portfolios: Foreign Affairs, President’s Office, Education, and Electric Power and Energy
Born: June 19, 1945
Affiliation: NLD
Biography: NLD chair, Nobel laureate and Pyithu Hluttaw MP for Kawhmu, Yangon Region.

2. Dr Aung Thu
Likely portfolios: Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation
Born: August 8, 1955
Affiliation: NLD
Biography: Ph.D graduate. Former rector of Yangon University (2014-15), Amyotha Hluttaw MP for Yangon-6.

3. U Thant Zin Maung
Likely portfolios: Transport and Communications
Born: November 11, 1953
Affiliation: NLD
Biography: Retired General Manager of Myanma Railways, former instructor at Yangon University and Pyithu Hluttaw MP for Monywa, Sagaing Region.

4. Thura U Aung Ko
Likely portfolios: Culture and Religious Affairs
Affiliation: Former USDP
Biography: Ally of former Pyidaungsu Hluttaw speaker and former USDP party chairman Thura U Shwe Mann. Forced out of USDP central executive committee in August 2015. Resigned from USDP in late January 2016.

5. U Ohn Win
Likely portfolios: Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation

6. Dr Pe Myint
Likely portfolios: Information
Affiliation: NLD
Biography: Native of Thandwe, Rakhine State. Writer and former chief editor of the People’s Age weekly journal.

7. U Thein Swe
Likely portfolios: Labour, Immigration and Population
Affiliation: USDP
Biography: Another Shwe Mann ally, currently Pyithu Hluttaw MP for Ann, Rakhine State, which is home to the Tatmadaw’s Western Regional Command.

8. U Win Khaing
Likely portfolios: Construction

9. Naing Thet Lwin
Likely portfolios: Ethnic Affairs
Affiliation: Mon National Party
Biography: Vice-chairman of the MNP, a party which contested the 1990 elections. The party won one seat in the Amyotha Hluttaw and two state assembly seats in the 2015 elections.

10. Dr Myint Htwe
Likely portfolios: Health

11. Dr Than Myint
Likely portfolios: Commerce
Born: January 17, 1943
Affiliation: NLD
Biography: Bachelor of Economics graduate from Yangon University who pursued further study in the United States. Former civil servant in the Ministry of Finance, former United Nations employee and Pyithu Hluttaw MP for Hlaing Tharyar, Yangon Region.

12. Dr Win Myat Aye
Likely portfolios: Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement
Born: July 1, 1954
Affiliation: NLD
Biography: Former rector of the Magway University of Medicine.

13. U Khin Maung Cho
Likely portfolios: Industry

14. U Kyaw Win
Likely portfolios: National Planning and Finance
Born: February 23, 1948
Affiliation: NLD
Biography: Has worked as a business consultant since 1997. Graduated in Economics at Yangon University.

15. U Ohn Maung
Likely portfolios: Hotels and Tourism

Military nominees:

16. Lt-Gen Sein Win
Likely portfolios: Minister for Defence
Affiliation: Military
Biography: Appointed Defence Minister during August 2015 reshuffle to replace Lt-Gen Wai Lwin.

17. Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe
Likely portfolios: Home Affairs
Affiliation: Military
Biography: Appointed Minister for Border Affairs during August 2015 reshuffle to replace Lt-Gen Thet Naing Win

18. Lt-Gen Ye Aung
Likely portfolios: Border Affairs
Affiliation: Military

By Soe Than Lynn

By Soe Than Lynn

Political reporter Soe Than Lynn knows Nay Pyi Taw inside out. He has been reporting from the Myanmar capital for several years.
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