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Will Shwe Mann Become Mr President?

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Will Shwe Mann Become Mr President?

The Irrawaddy

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Snr-Gen Than Shwe has reportedly endorsed Burma’s No 3 ranking general, joint chief-of-staff Gen Thura Shwe Mann, to become Burma’s new president.

The move came during a recent cabinet meeting in Naypyidaw, according to sources.

“You are going to be president,” Than Shwe reportedly told his subordinate.

Burma’s No 3 ranking general, joint chief-of-staff Gen Thura Shwe Mann. (Photo: Getty Images)

According to sources close to the military elite, Shwe Mann, 61, will be nominated by the representatives of the military in the future Senate and House, to be formed after the planned 2010 elections.The military will receive 25 percent of the seats at the village, township, state, regional and district levels in the new governing body, according to the 2008 Constitution. There will be three nominees for the presidency—one from the military contingent, one from the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Assembly or Senate) and one from the members of the Pyithu Hluttaw (People’s Assembly or House). The Senate and the House will then vote to choose the president.

Shwe Mann, a protégé of Than Shwe, has a reputation of being down to earth and a good listener, but he has yet to show his teeth with regard to a broad range of social, economic and political issues. His vision of Burma’s future is unknown.

Perhaps wisely, Shwe Mann has not shown any clear political or social views since he is still under the influence of two senior generals: Snr-Gen Than Shwe and Vice Snr-Gen Maung Aye. In fact, Shwe Mann and his wife are close to Than Shwe’s family on a personal basis, such as flying together to Singapore for shopping trips, sources said.

“To deal with issues of national politics and the macro-economy, Shwe Mann would not dare make any final decisions without Than Shwe and Maung Aye,” a source said. “Recently, he was officially invited to visit China. But in order to signify it was a very important visit, Napyidaw assigned No 2, Maung Aye, instead of him to go there.”

Recently, Shwe Mann was the subject of extensive news coverage which focused on his secret mission to North Korea in November, which was leaked to The Irrawaddy. Since then he has had a low profile in Burma’s official press except for photo-opts of meeting with state guests such as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Singapore senior minister Goh Chok Tong.

Meanwhile, Shwe Mann oversees regular meetings on political and security affairs with high-ranking military officials in Rangoon and Naypyidaw.

According to the Constitution, one of the duties of the new president will be to head the National Defense and Security Council, which has the power to declare a state of emergency and nullify the Constitution.

Sources said that Shwe Mann will issue a state order that Than Shwe, Maung Aye and the remaining members of the ruling junta all be named patrons or advisers to the National Defense and Security Council after the 2010 election.

Speculation is rife that the junta leaders and their close associates are deeply involved in preparations for the 2010 election and beyond.

Copyright © 2008 Irrawaddy Publishing Group |

Written by Lwin Aung Soe

July 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Varieties in English

Tagged with , , ,

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