Myanmar Government Plan Includes New Ethnic Affairs Ministry
Myanmar’s incoming government has released its plan for a new government, including a new ethnic-affairs ministry for the nation scarred by state sponsored violence and repression of some ethnic groups.
New president Htin Kyaw submitted his proposal Thursday, with a parliamentary debate on it scheduled for Friday.
The plan includes the ethnic ministry in a wider civil service reform plan aimed at streamlining the bureaucracy left behind by the military government that ruled Myanmar for decades. A Cabinet of 36 ministries is expected to be slimmed down to 21.
The military government had been accused of cracking down on ethnic Rohingya in northern Arakan (Rakhine) State, in response to riots in 2012 between the primarily Muslim Rohingya and the primarily Buddhist Rakhine. In recent years, Rohingya have been fleeing persecution in Myanmar by boat to the neighboring nations of Thailand and Malaysia.
Myanmar is home to a number of other ethnic groups including Shan, Bamar, and Kachin.
First civilian president
On Tuesday 70-year-old Htin Kyaw was chosen to become Myanmar’s first civilian president in more than five decades, receiving 360 of the 652 votes cast to defeat two other candidates.
His election was a foregone conclusion. He is a childhood friend and longtime confidant of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy, which took both chambers of parliament in November’s historic elections.
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