Friday, September 22, 2017

U Shwe Mann among USDP ex-MPs invited to hluttaw opening

Just like old times – 10 members of the ex-ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party have been invited by the winning National League for Democracy to attend today’s opening of parliament.

Thura U Shwe Mann speaks in parliament on January 29. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing / The Myanmar TimesThura U Shwe Mann speaks in parliament on January 29. Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing / The Myanmar Times

The group includes former speaker Thura U Shwe Mann and some of his close allies. The NLD has given no reason for the invitation.

The invitees can be seen as relatively bipartisan in outlook and fairly experienced in a broad range of parliamentary and political activity, including planning and budgeting. None is saying why they were invited.

Ex-MP U Saw Hla Tun told The Myanmar Times yesterday only this: “Yes, we are invited to attend the opening ceremony of the new parliament.”

Also invited are former Pyithu Hluttaw MPs U Aye Mauk, U Maung Toe, U Win Than, U Tin Maung Oo, U Soe Moe Aung and U Soe Yal, as well as former Amyotha Hluttaw MPs U Zaw Myint Pe and U Myit Tun.

U Saw Hla Tun, U Soe Moe Aung and U Soe Yal were members of the Pyithu Hluttaw Bill Committee, while U Maung Toe was secretary of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Bill Joint Committee. U Maung Toe is seen as an expert on national planning.

U Win Than is former secretary of the Public Accounts Joint Committee and a budget expert.

U Aye Mauk and U Tin Maung Oo, seen as close to Thura U Shwe Mann, often featured in debates on planning and the allocation of funds. U Zaw Myint Pe served on the Amyotha Hluttaw Bill Committee with special responsibility for budgetary affairs.

Though not a prominent parliamentary figure, it was U Myint Tun who submitted to President U Thein Sein the proposal last March to conduct the six-way talks that might have led to agreement on changing the constitution to allow for a Daw Aung San Suu Kyi presidency.

Speculation is growing that the invitees could be in line for membership in special commissions that the new parliament could form. U Saw Hla Tun said, “We don’t know about that. We will attend parliament because we were invited.”

Thura U Shwe Mann told a press conference on the last day of the outgoing session that he would accept any post assigned to him by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi if it was in the national interest.

Translation by Thiri Min Htun