Yangon: The leaders of Myanmar`s ruling
junta have resigned their military posts, a government
official said on Tuesday, in an apparent move to prepare to run in
upcoming national elections.
Under the new constitution, a newly created 440-member
House of Representatives will have 330 elected civilians and
110 military representatives.
Those who resign from military positions now won`t be
counted in the military`s quota. Having additional seats
outside the quota filled by loyalists out of uniform will help
ensure the army`s power and influence in the body.
Prime Minister General Thein Sein and 22 Cabinet
ministers gave up their uniforms yesterday, said the official,
who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not
authorized to release information.
While the reason for the resignations was not made
explicit, it is widely assumed that the move was made so they
can run in the polls, the date of which has not been set.
Myanmar`s military rulers declared they would hold
elections this year as part of the their "roadmap to
democracy," but critics say the military shows little sign of
relinquishing control and note that the government has made
every effort to prevent opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi
from taking part in the polls.
Although the prime minister and 22 ministers resigned
from their military positions, they still retain their Cabinet
posts, said the official.
Several more Cabinet ministers are expected to resign
their military posts, and all will later step down from the
Cabinet to prepare for the polls, he said.
The resignations were not reported by state-controlled
The junta-backed social organization known as the
Union Solidarity and Development Association is expected to
turn into a political party on whose slate many Cabinet
ministers would contest the election.
Myanmar had its last election in 1990. Suu Kyi`s
National League for Democracy topped the polls, but the
military - which has ruled the country virtually continuously
since 1962 - refused to recognise the results.
Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy decided
against registering their party, which is tantamount to
boycotting the polls. The party says the election laws are
unfair and undemocratic.
So far, 21 new political parties have applied for
permission to register as such and 4 out of 10 existing
parties have reregistered to contest the elections.