What Type of Government is MyanmarWhich kind of government is Myanmar?
com. It won enough seats in parliament to form a government and elect the next president.
Burma's parliamentarian system declared
This was dismissively called a 15-minute parliamentary term, but in recent few months the top and bottom homes in Naypyidaw (known as Amyotha and Pyithu Hluttaw) have been anything but that. The Lower Chamber has been in office for an equivalent of almost four working days since the beginning of Parliament's hearings of MEPs' queries and suggestions on 9 March 2011, up to the first ordinary sittings on 23 March.
On average, three lessons and 15 min per days were held in the Upper Chamber, which has fewer people. Undoubtedly, these meetings were interrupted by long tea break in the parliamentary cafeteria - allegedly one of only five rooms in the huge parliamentary building that Members of Congress are allowed to access - and the remainder of the session was devoted to hearing lengthy replies from members of government.
This attention to detail - and the disheartening portrayal of the New Light of Myanmar, the only cause of much of what is happening in this House - has only helped to conceal the fact that in the last two to three week we have experienced a degree of responsibility or at least publicity on the part of the army that has probably not existed for several decade-long periods.
There was a wide variety of issues under discussion, with the vast majority of the issues and suggestions from less than 20 per cent of the members of parliament not being tabled by the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) or the army. A total of 46 issues and 17 motions were tabled in the lower chamber, 33 issues and 16 motions in the higher chamber.
For another four and a half day, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, the House of Commons, was consulted on issues and suggestions before the new government was swear in on 30 March. Most of them concentrated on local infrastructures, but they also responded to issues such as a possible prisoner pardon, the imposition of conscription, the prevention of fraud, the unavailability of credit for small to medium-sized businesses, the tampering with raw material costs, exorbitant costs for cell telephones, low connection rates, the selling of petrol on the illegal markets, the predominance of games of chance, the conduct of a people' s count, the costs of secondary and high schooling and the increase in pension and state wages.
This will be immediately recognized by most commentators as topics that are not normally debated in the local medium. "Mong Palatino wrote: "The bipartisan assembly may be an institutional manipulation by the regime, but so far it has provided us with sanctions from the regime on the worsening internal situation that the pro-democracy movements could use to drive forward more democracy and substance in reform.
So we have the Minister of Power 2 U Khin Aung Myint (also the spokesman of the Lords House), who openly admits that Chin State - with over 500,000 inhabitants - has a combined power production capability of only 3 megawatt. But the debate on Parliament meetings in both the majorstream and exiled press was kept to a minimum.
In fact, one of the reports - "15 minute glory for Myanmar's MPs" - went so far as to suggest that members of the parliamentary party were only in the country to sharpen their profiles and receive the humble monthly wage of 300,000 K (about 330 US$). "All[ M]opposition MPs] will be paying tribute to the new democratic age that is supposed to have reached Myanmar - but more for global than local consumption," Aung Din of the US campaign for Burma commented.
Aung Din's articles - which also contain some current critiques - are almost as deceptive as the government props he opposes. Much of the attention paid to Myanmar in the world' s press has reverted to the recurring questions of business sanctioning and the National League for Democracy, almost as if the 2010 elections had never taken place.
This is in part because of the extreme difficulty of accessing what is going on in Naypyidaw. Members of this House are in prison because they have revealed the content of their debates, and journalists are not permitted in the building. Of course, the state press only presented a part of what was happening in Naypyidaw at the same theater.
A large part of the debate seems to have been censured by press coverage, and Members' queries sometimes appear cut off. There are two immediate concerns about nationality in the north of Rakhine that the Rohingya people did not name. A lot of Members' queries and suggestions have not even made it to the Parliament.
Inquiries and suggestions should be sent to the speaker's offices 10 or 15 working day in advanced. A recent exiled news release from the website on which it was posted said an opponent member of parliament said that many issues and suggestions - especially on the 2011-12 state budgets - had been rejected on the ground that they were "not pertinent to the present situation".
I know a politician who was very discerning of members of the ruling party who asked the question before the new government took power and showed their hands too soon. That is precisely why the National Unity Party has waited for its turn. "There are many issues and proposals for discussion, but we will not yet table them..... we will keep them until the next sitting after we have checked what has been happening in this session," MEP U Mann Maung Maung Nyan said last weeks in The Myanmar Times in Yangon.
Most of the opposing political groups have retreated into the back seat. Nevertheless, in recent months some members of the opposing party have voiced their private feelings of openness and even contentment about the trial. Whilst members of the opposing party recognize that they have very little clout, some are optimistic that they have at least built a relationship with certain USDPs.
The fact that most high-ranking soldiers or former members of "number three" Thura Shwe Mann are compelled to meet on a regular basis with members of the opposing factions - who come from a broad range of areas - can only be a good one. As Myanmar's new dual-chamber parliamentary system will not make any swift changes, the goals of the USDP and the army are likely to separate over the years.
In the same way that the interests of former parliamentary leaders differ from those of opposing members of the Bundestag, it is unlikely that they will be the same as those left behind in the war. That was exemplified the eve of the meeting when Dr. Myat Nyarna Soe of the National Democratic Force (NDF) presented a suggestion "calling on the government to set up a section for migrants under an appropriate ministry".
In a vote by the delegates present on whether the suggestion should be discussed, it was adopted by 334 votes to 249 with 52 abstentions. With non-USDP nominees having only 105 slots, the USDP and members of the armed forces seem to have almost divided in the centre, which is in the end on the NDF side. Whilst it made little difference - the Labour Minister gave a relatively sensible answer and Dr Myat Nyarna Soe consented to "his suggestion should be recorded and it should not go any further" - it shows that the army leaves more room for discussion on decision-making, which can only be a good one.