Burma has confirmed the resignation of a conservative vice president as
part of a Cabinet reshuffle that reformist lawmakers hope will reduce
the influence of anti-reform figures in the government.
The speaker for Burma's two houses of parliament announced the departure
of Vice President Tin Aung Myint Oo for health reasons on Wednesday, as
the two assemblies opened a new legislative session in the capital,
Tin Aung Myint Oo is a former top general who is close to retired
Burmese military ruler Than Shwe. The outgoing vice president had asked
to step down in early May to seek medical treatment for health problems.
Joint assembly speaker Khin Aung Myint said military personnel who hold
one quarter of parliamentary seats must nominate a new vice president by
July 10 for approval by the full legislature. One of the favorites for
the post is election commission chairman Tin Aye.
Burmese lawmaker Aye Maung of the ethnic minority Rakhine National
Development Party told VOA Burmese Service that he hopes the next vice
president will be a reformist.
"We hope that the army will nominate the kind of person who can go along
with the current presidentís reform strategy and can work in cooperation
with the parliamentarians and also be acceptable to the people," he
Burmese President Thein Sein has introduced a series of political and
economic reforms since taking office last year, ending decades of
military dictatorship. But, he has faced criticism from government
conservatives who are reluctant to give up the powers previously enjoyed
by the military.
President Thein Sein has vowed to push forward with what he calls a
"second wave" of economic reforms in the new parliamentary session.
Wednesday's legislative meeting also marked the parliamentary debut of
the National League for Democracy party of opposition leader Aung San
Suu Kyi. The NLD won 43 of the 45 seats that it contested in April
by-elections, enabling it to enter parliament as an opposition faction
with about 10 percent of parliamentary seats.
The NLD was barred from power by Burma's former ruling generals and
boycotted the last parliamentary election organized by the military in
2010. But, NLD members entered the recent by-elections after agreeing to
engage with President Thein Sein's reformist government.
San Suu Kyi did not attend the opening of parliament. She told reporters
in Rangoon on Tuesday that she needs several days to recover from an
exhausting two-week European tour. But, the NLD leader said she expects
to take her parliamentary seat on Monday and plans to be an active
participant in the body.
"Regarding the work that we have to do, since now I will be a part of
the National Assembly, we'll be involved in the legislative process. Our
party has already prepared some motions to be tabled and this will be
done of course," she said.
President Thein Sein has promised to introduce legislation regulating
the flow of overseas funds into Burma as international sanctions are
lifted from the once-isolated country.
Lawmakers also are expected to debate bills on the minimum wage,
corruption and media censorship in the parliamentary session, which is
expected to last until September.