Parliament


Myanmar’s former president Thein Sein has shed his formal attire and his hair to join the Buddhist monkhood.
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Newly unemployed ex-president Thein Sein is set to make his next move – to the monastery.

Thein Sein will be ordained as a monk on 1 April, now that the formal transfer of power to new head of state Htin Kyaw was completed on Wednesday, according to Pyi Myanmar, a Rangoon-based weekly news journal.
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The Chin National Front (CNF) has elected its top leadership at their 6th Congress which was held at their party headquarters on Indo-Myanmar border from January 26 to 30.
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Speculation is mounting amid stony silence from the leaders of the incoming National League for Democracy (NLD) government. Since their landslide election victory last November, top party executives, including their charismatic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, have remained mum. The nomination could be announced during the coming week, according to the party’s spokesman Win Htein, who appears to be one of the few close to Aung San Suu Kyi. “It will be a surprise to everyone,” he added – which only fuelled the rumours and conjecture.
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President Thein Sein will leave office in late March with a complicated legacy. He steered the country through a transition that peaked with its first free election in decades, though he will leave behind a host of problems for the next administration. Retired General Thein Sein took office in 2011 following an election the year prior that was boycotted by the opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), and panned as fraudulent.
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A village administrator from Minbya in Arakan State serving three years in prison for alleged links to the Arakan Army was released on 22 January as part of President Thein Sein’s political prisoner amnesty.
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Phil Blackwood, a New Zealand bar manager convicted of insulting religion in a high-profile case last year, was quietly released from Insein Prison on January 22, the same day he was granted amnesty, according to two political prisoner groups. His Myanmar colleagues, the owner and co-manager of the bar, have not been freed and were not pardoned, the same groups said.
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Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar’s powerful army chief held fresh talks Monday on the country’s dramatic political transition, days before a military-dominated legislature hands over to the most democratic parliament in generations.
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A complaint has been filed with the Union Election Commission (UEC) after a candidate for the Ta’ang National Party (TNP) alleges that he won instead of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) during the recent election.
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The Union Election Commission (UEC) on Friday announced the winners of the last 11 undeclared races in Burma’s Nov. 8 general election, with the nationwide contest’s victorious National League for Democracy (NLD) adding five seats to its tally. (more…)

As the extent of the victory by the National League for Democracy starts to sink in, some of the losers are already thinking about the future and their potential role. (more…)

National League for Democracy chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi met Union Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann on Thursday in Naypyidaw, with the two powerful parliamentarians agreeing to help see through a peaceful transfer of power following the NLD’s landslide victory in Burma’s Nov. 8 general election. (more…)

President U Thein Sein appears to have delayed indefinitely a meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss the transfer of power to a new government following her party’s landslide election victory. (more…)

Ethnic political leaders are concerned over their marginal collective role in Burma’s next Parliament, with the majority of ethnic parties enjoying few gains in last Sunday’s general election. (more…)

While much attention in recent days has focused on the mammoth electoral gains of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), advocates of women’s participation in politics also have something to smile about, with Burma next year set to see a near tripling of female representation across the country’s legislative chambers. (more…)

Yesterday Aung San Suu Kyi was mobbed by supporters and journalists when she returned to Parliament for the first time since her landslide victory. However, she was steadfast in refusing to make any comments on the transition to democracy, her negotiations with the military or, perhaps more importantly, who she intends to put forward as the next potential President of Myanmar. (more…)

Aung San Suu Kyi’s star power has fallen among fellow Myanmar politicians critical of her management style and decision-making, and among fans abroad disenchanted with the Nobel Peace laureate’s relative silence on human-rights abuses. But she’s as popular as ever amid the muddy roads and ramshackle huts of her constituency and across much of the country.
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Race and religion are casting a dark shadow over Myanmar as it moves toward critical elections next month. The elections would have been difficult enough for the country if confined to the issues of what degree of democracy can now be introduced, and what role should be played by the iconic leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But it has been made more divisive and dangerous by an insidious emphasis on national identity that threatens to further open up the fault line between ethnic Burmans and the country’s minorities, in particular the Muslim community.
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Myanmar’s main opposition party, led by the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, deliberately bypassed Muslim candidates ahead of the November election, a senior party member told Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.
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There is some irony – no doubt unintentional — in the choice of a gleaming, Chinese-built convention hall in Naypyitaw as the venue for the Oct. 15 signing of a peace deal between Myanmar’s government and ethnic armed groups.
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