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Wednesday, Sep 4, 2013


Thein Sein extends olive branch to Parliament Speaker

The Straits Times | Nirmal Ghosh | Wednesday, Sep 4, 2013

Mr Thura Shwe Mann wants to bid for the presidency in the 2015 elections.

MYANMAR - Moving to calm friction with Myanmar's powerful Speaker of Parliament, President Thein Sein in a radio address appealed for mutual "deference" and a "constructive perspective" in his office's relationship with the legislature.

Increasing friction between the executive and the ambitious Speaker Thura Shwe Mann has led to stalling of some reforms in Parliament.

More importantly, it has created tension in the power structure, at a time when the country's democratic transition remains a fragile two-year experiment.

In his monthly address on Sunday, Mr Thein Sein said the friction was natural in Myanmar's new political system, particularly in the early stages of transition.

He added: "Instead of blaming each other in counter-productive ways, we must learn from this experience to establish new approaches, communication channels and frameworks that allow us to work together better."

There was no reaction to the speech from Mr Shwe Mann.

Analysts noted that the President was probably buoyed by the support of appointed army MPs in Parliament just days before, when in an unusually heated debate they challenged the Speaker, signalling that the army would still rather back Mr Thein Sein.

The ambitious 66-year-old Mr Shwe Mann, a former top general like the President, wants to bid for the presidency in the 2015 General Election. Political manoeuvring with an eye on the election has already begun.

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