The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), the fourth largest party in the national parliament, has said that it rejected an offer from the incoming National League for Democracy (NLD) led government, to have an SNLD representative serve as the newly created Ethnic Affairs minister.
The Ethnic Affairs ministry’s formation was announced last week by the incoming president, U Htin Kyaw, a close ally of NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Reached for comment, Sai Nyunt Lwin, the SNLD’s secretary general explained that the NLD offered him the position of minister of Ethnic Affairs but that he did not accept this offer. Sai Nyunt Lwin did not elaborate as why he and his party chose to decline the NLD’s gesture.
Sai Nyunt Lwin had been widely considered to be a leading candidate to be appointed one of two vice presidents but the NLD instead chose Henry Van Thio, a former military officer and NLD Upper House MP from Chin State.
Khun Tun Oo, the popular chairman of the SNLD, indicated that SNLD would like to have one of its representatives chosen as the Shan State Chief Minister.
Sai Nyunt Lwin tells SHAN that it appears unlikely that the NLD will allow this to happen.
“I guess that they will choose NLD for the position,” he said.
Although the SNLD won more seats in the Shan State parliament than the NLD, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party still gets to pick the Chief Minister as all of the country’s chief ministers are chosen by the president. Dr Lin Htut, an NLD MP from Lashio Township, is expected to be the next Shan State chief minister.
The SNLD won 40 seats in the 2015 elections including 12 seats in the Lower House, three seats in the Upper House, 24 seats in the Shan State parliament and one seat in the Kachin State parliament. Although it has more seats than the NLD in the Shan State Parliament, the military backed USDP party has even more with 33.
Earlier this month the USDP flexed its muscle to ensure that its own MP, U Sai Lone Sang, was re-appointed speaker in the Shan State parliament. This was done with the support of the unelected state parliamentarians appointed by the army. The USDP representatives and the military allies defeated the SNLD Sai Kyaw Thein. The USDP’s outgoing Shan State Chief Minister, U Sao Aung Myat, secured the position of deputy speaker in the state parliament.
BY SAI AW / Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN)