Myanmar's new PM to tackle Suu Kyi

Myanmar's leader, Senior General Than Shwe, intends to remain in power indefinitely and will use his new prime minister as a shield against international criticism, a source close to the government said on Wednesday.

    Aung San Suu Kyi is a major headache for Myanmar's rulers

    The surprise appointment of the government’s number-three General Khin Nyunt as prime minister on Monday is a hot issue in this military-run nation. Than Shwe himself donned the role earlier.

      

    Khin Nyunt, the most outward-looking figure in the government, is expected to tackle the country's two biggest problems -- the stalemate with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the collapsing economy.

     

    Detention

      

    But the source close to the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) said Than Shwe was merely hoping the new premier would deflect some of the heat from incidents like Aung San Suu Kyi's continued detention.

      

    "The Senior General does not intend to step down at any time in the foreseeable future and so he needs someone to offset growing international pressure being brought to bear on him," he said.

      

    "Than Shwe is coming along in years and doesn't want too many headaches... he needs a shield to deflect all that outside pressure... and Khin Nyunt will hopefully serve as that shield," he said.

      

    As the new public face of the government, Khin Nyunt will now have to represent Myanmar at meetings like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and confront critics directly -- a job Than Shwe preferred to avoid.

      

    "Khin Nyunt has been given the responsibility to deal with all those headaches in (Than Shwe's) place," the source said.

     

    "Than Shwe is coming along in years and doesn't want too many headaches... he needs a shield to deflect all that outside pressure... and Khin Nyunt will hopefully serve as that shield."

    --Government source

    "Khin Nyunt himself probably welcomes this new position as it suits him to a T, despite the obvious drawbacks, because he has a personality which thrives on high visibility."

      

    Foreign governments and diplomats in Yangon consider Khin Nyunt the man most accessible in the government, where he is considered a moderate.

      

    He was charged with managing a United Nation-sponsored reconciliation process with Aung San Suu Kyi, which broke down in May when she was arrested after her supporters were attacked by a pro-junta mob during a political tour.

      

    State radio had announced on Monday that in a sweeping reshuffle Khin Nyunt had lost his role as Secretary One in the SPDC, which made him the third-ranking general in the country after Than Shwe and army chief Maung Aye. 

     

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    From Zimbabwe to England: A story of war, home and identity

    The country I saw as home, my parents saw as oppressors

    What happens when you reject the identity your parents fought for and embrace that of those they fought against?

    Becoming Ocean: When you and the world are drowning

    Becoming Ocean: When you and the world are drowning

    One woman shares the story of her life with polycystic kidney disease and sees parallels with the plight of the planet.

    The evening death came for me: My journey with PTSD

    The evening death came for me: My journey with PTSD

    On a gorgeous Florida evening, a truck crashed into me. As I lay in intensive care, I learned who had been driving it.