Myanmar Military MP Says Army Chief Could Become Candidate for President

Military MP Says Army Chief Could Become Candidate for President

Myanmar, Burma, military, democracy, elections

General Min Aung Hlaing speaking during a meeting with officials at Kalaw, southern Shan State, in April 2011. (PHOTO: Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — The leader of Burma’s military lawmakers has said the group wants to nominate current Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing for president following the 2015 elections. The plan is possible because the country’s president is elected by Parliament, where military officers hold a quarter of the seats.

Brig-Gen Wai Lin, an officer with the Southern Command and a Lower House MP who leads the military lawmakers, told The Irrawaddy that he expects Sen-Gen Ming Aung Hlaing to be a leading candidate for the presidency.

According to Burma’s 2008 Constitution, the military, the Upper House and the Lower House will each appoint a vice-president. The Union Parliament, which comprises both houses, will then vote to determine which of these three will become president.

Wai Lin said the military MPs would like to nominate the commander-in-chief as a vice-president in this process, which will take place after the elections, scheduled in late 2015.

“Min Aung Hlaing is going to retire in 2016 as he will then be 60 years old. So, he may become a vice-president,” he said. “I don’t know about his desire to serve as vice-president and president. But, if he wants to do so, we can anticipate that he will be selected as vice-president [i.e. presidential candidate].”

Wai Lin said the current commander-in-chief of Burma’s powerful military would make a good civilian president, adding, “Most military leaders work hard for the country. They have done so since a young age.”

The 60-year-old Ming Aung Hlaing took over as commander of Burma’s Armed Forces after long-time military junta leader Than Shwe retired in June 2010. As part of Burma’s democratic transition, planned by Than Shwe, many senior junta members retired to become civilian lawmakers with the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in Parliament, which reopened in 2010. The USDP controls 51 percent of the parliamentary seats.

Phone Myint Aung, an Upper House MP with the New National Democracy Party, an opposition group, said the proposal had a chance of succeeding as the military officers in both house of Parliament would support Min Aung Hlaing’s bid for the presidency.

“Military chief Min Aung Hlaing could become president—not only just vice-president—because he already has 25 percent of the presidential votes,” he said. “Not only Min Aung Hlaing, but anyone who has the support of the military lawmakers will have a good chance of becoming president”

Upper House USDP lawmaker Hla Swe said he disapproved of the plan, saying that Burma should breaks with the political custom of putting retired generals in key government positions.

“Military Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing seems to be a candidate for vice-president. My idea is that I would rather give this position to an academically-trained, civilian person,” said Hla Swe, who was himself a military officer before becoming a civilian MP.

“I do not like this idea that the army could propose a list of vice-presidents and a [candidate] president, and that the army can appoint ministers who are from the military,” he said.

In 2011, Thein Sein was appointed president of the quasi-civilian government, which is dominated by the USDP. The government will be replaced after the free and fair elections in 2015, but according to the military-drafted Constitution officers will continue to control a quarter of all parliamentary seats.

USDP chairman Shwe Mann has said he wants to lead the USDP in 2015 in a bid to become president, while President Thein Sein has not ruled out running for a second term.

The USDP will have to take on the hugely popular opposition party of Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy (NLD). However, the Constitution currently prohibits anyone with a foreign spouse to become president, effectively banning Suu Kyi, who was married to a UK man, from becoming president.

A parliamentary committee comprising different parties is currently looking into possibly amending the Constitution.


9 Responses to Military MP Says Army Chief Could Become Candidate for President

  1. History tend to repeat itself.
    Anyway it turns out ASSK,Thein Sein Shwe Mann, MAH it is not too bad.
    Good able qualified leaders are emerging.
    Look at the experience all of them have.
    This surely is the new beginning as things can’t go wrong.
    What about the people’s will?
    Well the election is going to be held under the present constitution.
    That’s what we got. or better still we got what we deserved.
    Peace and harmony will surely follow.

  2. The plot thickens. Now we’ll have three former generals jockeying for the presidency. TS would likely bow out for health reasons anyway leaving SM and MAH to fight it out – the USDP v the Tatmadaw. The two headed monster turning on itself sounds most definitely interesting. Who knows who has the guns may not become a decisive factor?

    Where does that leave ASSK – chairless and clueless when the music stops? Would she then cry foul and bring in the cavalry flying the union flag because it won’t be the UN? So much for relying on the ‘international community’ and top down ideas of change.

  3. (Wai Lin said the current commander-in-chief of Burma’s powerful military would make a good civilian president, adding, “Most military leaders work hard for the country. They have done so since a young age.”)

    No one has force them into Army. If you received salary from Government and then you must do your duty but except corruption and drug trafficking. What Wai Lin said was the Military leaders deserve everything because what they have done for country. It seems to be the Army officers do not change their attitude and they are above of the other peoples in Burma.

    I do not know whether Wai Lin understands about ordinary Burmese peoples view on Military leaders or he has problem with eyes and ears.
    Burmese peoples want to kick out Military officers from Parliament and to rewrite their Papa Than Shwe’s constitution which guarantees corrupted former dictator Than Shwe and his Generals from prosecution for their crimes etc; murder, theft, trafficking and corruption.

    I have no objection about Min Aung Hlaing becoming President or Vice President. However, he must enter election like other MPs and he must retire from Army.

    Military officers are most corrupted Government employees in Burma. I want Military to stay away from politic and stop involving doing business. If they want to do politic and business and then they have quit military and do as other ordinary Burmese peoples.

  4. In a democratic country, the government is elected by the people or the representatives of the people rule the country. In the parlament, any political party, which won majority seats in the election, has right to form the government. 250 MPs who represent the military is not elected by the people. Even though they are eligible to sit in th parliament, they have no right to rule the country. In this regard, there is no way for Gen. Min Aung Hlaing to becoming the President.
    If NLD won more than 250 MPs in the coming election, they have the right to from the government by the help of the other parties. Then form the government and rewrite or amend the existing constitution. Daw Suu can be the President.

  5. In any real democratic country, there must be no military, or religious leader (Monks, Iman, Rabbi or priest) in the parlement.
    Look at what happened to Yugoslavia when a guy start playing ethnic separation game(Slobodan is Serb and is majority ethnic there who will win 100% majority vote in whole of Yugoslavia) and minority (Kosova, Croats, Slovenes, etc..) are outlined.
    Look at what happened in Egypt with Morsi. He played “Winner take it all” and sidelined the minority ( a minority of 49% !).
    Any political leader or party who play on Ethnic, religion (Separation of state from religion), language differences will split the country.

  6. Mission Impossible. Actually new kid on the block.

  7. How did this guy got tho’ DSA and got promoted to his present rank ?
    All DSA candidates are vetted for their eyesight. This guy has a right divergent squint which means the right eye is an amblyopic eye or a non-seeing eye. The divergent squint may not have been present when he was young, but had now shown up. He got thro’ DSA training by hook or by crook !

  8. Maung Lu Aye ( Law ) R.A.S.U.1976

    In Burma Military History,Not all the Military Personnel are Bad Guys. Look at The Founder Late Gen.Aung San . Burmese People are Still honoring,Remembering,Writing books about his Countless Reminiscences . As well as Bo Kyaw Zaw’s Political & Military Biographies are still Interest of the Book Lovers. And Bo Ba Thaw’s “Destroyer 103″ ( Taik Yay Yin 103 ) is Masterpiece in Burmese true Event Literature. Not to Mention that Bo Tin Oo, Bo Aung Shwe,Bo Kyi Maung are/were all NLD members. They are all Good Guys.
    I have No grudge or Objection to Gen. Min Aung Hlaing for the Candidate to become President. Only that he should really change his Uniform & Military Attitude to Grassroot Good Citizen Attitude. No Military Back-Up.
    Changing in Timely Manner of 2008 Constitution or Amending it DASSK could compete with Other Candidates for the President. However, Most of the Mentality of the Military/ Army had heeding their Superior’s Instruction, Whether Right or Wrong . Those were happenning for more than Half a Century. The Iron Fist Eras of Ne Win,Than Shwe are Obsolete/Out of date.
    Bo Than Shwe, it is time, even overdue for you to Repent. Otherwise Yar-Ma-Minn/The Devil would Visit you soon. Please do not afraid.

  9. Can anybody tell me how the Senior General MAH got promoted to Commander in Chief and his calibers?

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