Head of MyanmarLeaders of Myanmar
Better-than-average head of state?
U Win Myint's presidential elections have fueled speculations about changes in the equilibrium of powers at the highest level of the state. In 2015, THE LANDSLIDE ELCTION National League for Democracy's win gave her a stranglehold in the presidential elections, although State Councillor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi could not be appointed head of state under the 2008 military-drafted constitution.
Despite not being able to appoint Aung San Suu Kyi to the EU Council of Ministers, the NLD's rule over the EU parliament has allowed it to elect the last two leaders of the state. As Aung San Suu Kyi announced before the NLD administration took power in March 2016, U Htin Kyaw was seen as a high-profile figure.
U Myint's presidential elections on 30 March sparked speculations that he might be a more forceful head of state than his forerunner. "Aung San Suu Kyi said to Yangon reporters on 5 November 2015, three day before the party's electoral victory, "If we won and the NLD formed a coalition, I will stand above the presidency.
"I' ll lead the administration and we will have a presidency that will work in line with NLD policy," she added. A first law of the new NLD-dominated Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, founded on the council of constitution specialist U Ko Ni, Nyi, who was murdered in January 2017, allowed the State Council's stance on Aung San Suu Kyi to be created.
It is answerable to Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and has the authority to make contact with departments and other agencies and to advise on their use. The State Council's office is second only to that of the State Council in the State Minutes, with a term of office from 2016 to 2020. Some say that the State Council's widespread exercise of authority limited Htin Kyaw's rôle before he stepped down on March 21 after two years as the country's current chairman.
"In order to tell you about the presidential authorities, we found him somewhat feeble to carry out the tasks authorised by the Constitutional Treaty effectively," Pyithu Hluttaw MP U Thaung Aye (Union Solidarity and Development Party, Pyawbwe, Mandalay) said to Frontier. Former Lt-Gen Thaung Aye was beaten by Win Myint with 27 to 237 voices when the Pyithu Hluttaw elected his candidate for the office of deputy chairman on March 23.
It was not necessary to react to such criticisms, said Amyotha Hluttaw MP U Aung Kyi Nyunt (NLD, Magway-4), a member of the governing party's main executive board, who presented the bill that made it possible to create the State Council's stand. "Somebody can't check the presidency. Pursuant to the treaty, the highest office is held by the president," the experienced political figure said to Frontier.
"He[ Htin Kyaw] was serving as its president according to the needs of the nation and in a worthy manner," he said. Experienced journalist U Thiha Thwe, who works for the Japanese NHK press office, said it was not fair to say that Htin Kyaw did not work harder when he was away from the press for a long time.
He was often limited to his duties as Chairman due to a burden of work that involved many sessions, Thiha Thwe said. Thwe said he hopes that Win Myint's two years as Pyithu Hluttaw spokesman will help make him a more proactive leader than Htin Kyaw, 71. He said Win Myint, 66, was livelier and could also be awaited to revive the Chairmanship during his term of mandate.
Myanmar Strategy and Policy Study Institute executives U Min Zin said Myanmar should draw a lesson from its past when the nation was under armed regime for more than 50 years before progressive reform was initiated in 2011. Because of Tatmadaw's decade-long dominance in Myanmar policy, the armed forces still have significant powers over civil governance, he said.
"There' s a big void in the relationship between the army and the government," Min Zin said to Frontier. "In Kachin, for example, when the army fought the KIA[Kachin Independence Army], the army was informing the federal administration of its choice. He said, "The US has not used its law enforcement powers to solve the issue.
Mr Thaung Aye said that better cooperation between the army and the administration would help the state. Thaung Aye pointed out small linguistic disparities between the two sides regarding the Rakhine dispute and said that the Rakhine administration calls SRSA "terrorists", while the army uses the word "Bengali terrorists", the latter a derogatory concept that reaffirms the opinion that its members and all those who identity themselves as Rohingya are illegally immigrants from Bangladesh.
Mr Zin said that under the present composition of the administration, any powers the country has are largely attributable to Aung San Suu Kyi. However, some argues that Win Myint's lecturing expertise and persistence in parliament could make him a different kind of guide from Htin Kyaw.
As Aung Kyi Nyunt said, Win Myint could take full benefit from his significant political, legal and spokesman-expertise.