Myanmar president uses last hours to praise own reforms
NAY PYI TAW – Myanmar’s outgoing president has used his final address to discuss the reform process he says was carried out under his administration, as the country prepares for a newly elected government to take power.
Thein Sein praised the “bloodless reforms” of his country to parliament Thursday — comparing them to the changes of “Arab countries” — but stated that Myanmar still has serious problems and challenges to be addressed, such as religious tension and peace talks with ethnic rebel groups.
“Our government has laid the foundation of peace for the next government during its five-year term. We hope the next government would able to end the civil war of the country,” Thein Sein told MPs in the country’s capital Nay Pyi Taw.
The parliament — dominated by Thein Sein’s army-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party — is to stand down Friday, to make way for an opposition-dominated house.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy is due to take power March 31 following last year’s landslide election victory — the first general election since the outgoing government replaced decades of military rule in 2011.
The vote was widely seen as a referendum on the country’s unsteady reform process.
Despite his close ties to the military, Thein Sein — a senior leader in the former regime — has liberalized some restrictions, such as allowing Suu Kyi — one of thousands of political prisoners he has released from detention — to contest a 2012 by-election.
In 1989, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate was placed under house arrest, and spent 15 of the next 22 years mostly confined to her lakeside villa in the old capital of Yangon.
After her party won the general election in 1990 by a landslide — only for the military to annul the results — the NLD boycotted the 2010 vote that put in place Thein Sein’s government, saying it was neither free nor fair.
Since the outgoing president took power, many of the country’s warring ethnic groups have signed up to a peace process. He has also had to come to grips with a series of state sponsored violence by Rakhine Buddhists on innocent Rohingya Muslims which broke out in western Arakan (Rakhine) state in 2012 and spread to other parts of the country.
Many analysts, however, have suggested that the conflict — complicated by the nationalist politicking of influential radical Buddhist monks — is military backed and an attempt to divide the impoverished Rakhine community so outside forces can control its un-mined natural resources.
On Monday, Thein Sein asked parliament to expand the military’s power in the next government by placing the immigration ministry under the charge of the home affairs ministry — whose leader is appointed by the army chief.
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Source: News fulton county
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