Sunday, August 20, 2017

President to hold ‘regular’ meet with parties

Party leaders insist they are not excited about the invitation to meet President U Thein Sein this afternoon in the Yangon Region parliament building. Nor are they making any special preparations for the meeting, not least because there is no agenda.

The most likely topic of discussion appears to be maintaining a stable political environment both before and after next November’s election, they say.

President’s Office director U Zaw Htay described the meeting, which will take place at 4pm today, as “regular”, as opposed to the sporadic six-party talks which might, or might not, hold the key to the country’s constitutional problems.

“It is a regular meeting. The president often meets with party representatives to discuss the state of the country,” said U Zaw Htay.

Another issue is likely to be the peace process and the political dialogue associated with it. The president also wants to hear about any difficulties parties are having that he could help to resolve through the various government ministries, said U Zaw Htay.

“This is nothing special. We don’t know what will be discussed, other than the current political situation. We haven’t drawn up any specific plans for the meeting,” said U Nyan Win, spokesperson for the National League for Democracy.

The chair of the Karen National Party, U Saw Tun Aung Myint, said he had received a summons over the phone, but had not yet received a written invitation. “I don’t know what topics will come up,” he said.

But U Zo Zam, chair of the Chin National Party, wants to take advantage of the unstructured nature of the meeting to bring up last year’s census.

“The results will be published on May 29. We are concerned whether or not new types of ethnic minorities are going to be announced,” he said. “That would be a very controversial issue. Increasing the number of ethnic groups could cause disunity among existing groups.”