Lt Gen Soe Htut
Lt Gen Soe Htut. Image credit - myanmar-now.org

Myanmar’s military intelligence chief will be the country’s next home minister, in a move bound to fuel speculation about the nature of trade off between Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling NLD party and the all powerful military.

Top government sources told Northeast Now that the Chief of Military Security Affairs, Lieutenant General Soe Htut, has been nominated as the country’s new home affairs minister and will replace the outgoing minister Lt Gen Aung Thu.

Union Parliament Speaker U T Khun Myat announced in Parliament on Thursday that the President has cleared the appointment for the new minister.

According to the 2008 Constitution, three ministries— Defence, Home Affairs and Border Affairs — are controlled by the military, known as the Tatmadaw.

The heads of the three ministries are nominated by the military chief and the president appoints them with the approval of the Union Parliament.

Speaker U T Khun Myat told lawmakers to inform him by Friday evening if they would like to object to the nomination.

It is highly unlikely anyone will.

According to the Constitution, the Parliament does not need to vote to confirm ministerial appointments unless there is proof that the nominee doesn’t meet the qualifications for the position.

Lt-Gen Soe Htut, 59, is a graduate of Intake 64 at the Defense Services Academy (DSA) and has led the Office of the Chief of Military Security Affairs since 2016.

NLD sources have suggested that the party will push very hard for at least two key amendments to the 2008 military-framed Constitution — to drop Art 59(f) that prevents any Burmese married to foreigners from contesting for President and similar key positions and partly Art 436 to reduce the number of military MPs from 25 percent of the total legislature to 15 percent, so as to ensure civilian MPs can effect changes in the body politic.

Perhaps they will allow the military, in return, to retain the three critical ministries of Home, Defence and Border Affairs.

Analysts say Lt Gen Soe Htut’s cabinet elevation points to that.

NE NOW NEWS

Northeast Now is a multi-app based hyper-regional bilingual news portal. Mail us at: contact@nenow.in