NLD downplays military’s Myint Swe VP pick

NAY PYI TAW — Despite vocal public criticism over the military’s appointment of U Myint Swe to the vice-presidency, party spokespeople from the National League for Democracy have said they are confident they can work with the controversial former general.

Myint Swe, currently serving as the Chief Minister of Yangon Region until the end of March, was elected to the post of Vice-President 1 with the support of military and Union and Solidarity and Development Party lawmakers during Tuesday’s joint sitting of Union Parliament.

Known as a loyal acolyte of former junta leader Than Shwe, Myint Swe remains on the United States Treasury Department’s sanctions list for his military career.

As head of the Yangon Regional Command, he was responsible for the crackdown on protesters during the 2007 Saffron Uprising, while his time as Chief Minister has been dogged by claims of corruption in the allocation of an urban development project in south-western Yangon Region.

U Zaw Myint Maung, a spokesman for the NLD, told Frontier that the participation of Myint Swe in the next government would not stop the party from enacting its program.

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“People don’t have to worry about U Myint Swe,” he told Frontier. Under the leadership of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, we will march towards the goal at our own speed. I don’t think people have to worry just because U Myint Swe is here among us.”

Party elder U Win Htein said that the NLD leader had a strong mandate after last year’s elections and would be able to effectively exercise oversight over the vice-president.

“To reach the present situation, we have had to struggle for 28 years. We will continued forward no matter how much more obstacles remain to be overcome,” he said. “To prevent U Myint Swe from making a mistake only concerns with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. I think she has already considered this.”

Htin Kyaw, Myint Swe and Vice-President 2 Henry Van Thio will take office on April 1.

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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