Blocked from presidency, Suu Kyi to be Myanmar foreign minister

  • Agencies, Naypyitaw/Yangon
  • Updated: Mar 22, 2016 21:11 IST
In this file photo, Myanmar’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi leaves after meeting members of Parliament belonging to National League for Democracy (NLD) in Naypyidaw. (AFP)

Aung San Suu Kyi will become foreign minister in Myanmar’s new civilian government, her party said on Tuesday, giving the democracy champion a formal position despite being blocked from the presidency.

“She will be the foreign minister mainly. If she wants to share the duties she has in other ministries with qualified people, she can assign them,” said Zaw Myint Maung, spokesman for her National League for Democracy, hinting that she would hold other roles as well.

Suu Kyi guided the NLD to a historic landslide election win in November, but cannot assume the presidency under the charter drafted by the former junta because her two sons are British citizens, as was her late husband.

She has pledged to circumvent the ban by running the country through a proxy president, and last week the parliament nominated Suu Kyi’s confidant, Htin Kyaw, for the top job.

Until the cabinet nominations were read out to parliament by the speaker on Tuesday, it had been unclear whether Suu Kyi would join the executive or would chose to guide the government from outside as the leader of the ruling party.

The constitution bars serving ministers from political party activities or sitting in parliament as lawmakers.

“It doesn’t matter how many ministries she takes, as she will run the whole government anyway,” said Win Htein, a senior NLD politician close to Suu Kyi.

The 18-member cabinet list submitted by President-elect Htin Kyaw to parliament did not specify the portfolios each minister would hold.

But a separate, unofficial list obtained by Reuters from sources in parliament showed Nobel peace prize laureate Suu Kyi’s name next to four ministries: minister of the president’s office, foreign affairs, electric power and energy, and education.

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