Tensions Mount at Myanmar Ruling Party HQ

Arifa
By August 13, 2015 13:19

Tensions Mount at Myanmar Ruling Party HQ

A tense situation has developed at the headquarters of Myanmar’s ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), where those attending a party meeting are not being allowed to leave by security forces.

Sources tell VOA’s Burmese service that a conflict has developed between President Thein Sein and party leader and parliament speaker Shwe Mann.

Shwe Mann’s son Toe Naing Man has confirmed to VOA that the building in Naypyidaw was shut down Wednesday night, allowing no one to enter or leave.

Another source inside the building, who did not want to be named, told VOA that security forces are inside the party headquarters and are preventing anyone from leaving the premises.

VOA has witnessed official cars used by ministers coming in and out of the compound, and some staffers have been seen carrying in bedrolls.

Maung Maung Thein, USDP general secretary, said the situation is “complicated” and is difficult to explain before abruptly ending his talk with VOA.

There are unconfirmed reports that President Thein Sein will hold an emergency meeting of his cabinet Thursday morning. However, those reports cannot yet be confirmed.

Earlier this week, 149 senior military officers retired from their army posts to contest as USDP candidates in the upcoming elections. But at the party convention Wednesday, only 59 of the former army officers were accepted as candidates. This coming Friday is the deadline set by the Election Commission for parties to submit candidate lists.

Tensions between USDP factions and the military first surfaced in June, when the party backed a motion that would have ended the military’s de facto ability to veto constitutional amendments.

The measure also was supported by the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), which had collected 5 million signatures in support of the reform.

But Myanmar’s military, which opposed the measure, has 25 constitutionally guaranteed parliament seats, enough to block constitutional reforms it does not like.

General elections scheduled for this November will be the first since the country ended decades of military rule in 2011. President Thein Sein has said he will not run for a seat in parliament, but the move would not prevent him from being elected by legislators for a second term in office.

The opposition NLD, led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has said it will contest almost all of the available seats in parliament and expects heavy gains in the legislature.

Source: VOA.

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Arifa
By August 13, 2015 13:19

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