Tue 25 Jan 2011
Filed under: Inside Burma
New Delhi – According to Naypyidaw observers, retired General Thura Shwe Man has the best chance to become the new President in the upcoming Parliament.
The military is eligible to nominate a vice president from the appointed military representatives in both houses of Parliament, according to the new constitution, giving Thura Shwe Man an advantage, say observers.
Among the civilian MPs, who are dominated by the Union Solidarity Development Party members of Parliament, the lower house is expected to nominate incumbent Prime Minister Thein Sein for vice president, said another source.
Despite a flurry of recent statements by ethnic parties urging the upper house to nominate an ethnic member of Parliament as vice president, the USDP party is likely to nominate a businessman as vice president, said the source.
However, in local assemblies in states and regions, ethnic MPs are expected to have a better chance to be elected as chief ministers of the local governments or speakers of local assemblies, observers said.
The USDP dominates both houses of Parliament with 59 percent in the lower house and 57 percent in the upper house. Nominees supported by the USDP will likely become the new president and two vice presidents.
The most eligible candidate for president will be Thura Shwe Man, who enjoys strong support from the military, said a military source.
Deputy commander in chief of the Armed Forces and No. 2 in the military hierarchy, Vice Senior General Maung Aye, will soon retire and the new mandatory retirement age in the armed forces for top brass, excluding Senior General Than Shwe, will be re-enacted, said the source.
Even though Lieutenant General Myint Aung and Lieutenant General Ko Ko have been nominated to succeed the commander in chief and the vice commander in chief, the timeline for their official succession has not been announced.
Similarly even senior military officers and military observers cannot say yet which post, if any, Senior General Than Shwe will hold in the future.
According to general speculation, Than Shwe will retain his current senior general rank and may likely assume additional posts higher than that of commander in chief, or become a patron of the USDP.
A military officer said that the appointed military MPs will sponsor a motion in Parliament to pass a law endorsing the new military conscript law which has been enacted by the junta.
The source said that the key decisions on the division of power in the national and regional Parliaments will be made in the coming days.
The source also said Myint Swe, the winning USDP candidate from Khanaungto Township and a former commander of the Bureau of Special Operations, has been provisionally endorsed as chief minister in the Rangoon area.