Myanmar Junta Reshuffles Governing Body

By The Irrawaddy 2 February 2023

Myanmar’s military regime has reconstituted its governing body, the State Administration Council (SAC), after it extended emergency rule for six months on Wednesday.

The 2008 Constitution states that the National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) may “normally” permit two six-month extensions after a year of emergency rule, the NDSC on Monday used the “extraordinary situation” of resistance attacks across Myanmar to extend emergency rule for a third time.

Members of the military-proxy Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and allied parties, former ministers and chief ministers were also appointed to the SAC.

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing remains SAC prime minister with his deputy Soe Win, defense minister General Mya Tun Oo, home affairs minister Lieutenant General Soe Htut, transport and communications minister General Tin Aung San and planning and finance minister U Win Shein being named as deputy premiers

Foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin, Mandalay Region chief minister Maung Ko, Rakhine State chief minister Dr. Aung Kyaw Min and Shan State chief minister Dr. Kyaw Tun were appointed to the SAC.

Kachin State People’s Party vice-chairwoman Dwe Bu, a former Lower House lawmaker, was appointed to the SAC. The Kachin party was allied with the USDP in the 2010 general election.

(clockwise) Dwe Bu, Pu Gin Kan Liang, Poe Reh Aung Thein, U Yan Kyaw, Khun San Lwin

Poe Reh Aung Thein, a USDP member and former Upper House lawmaker, Zomi Congress for Democracy secretary and former Upper House lawmaker Pu Gin Kan Liang, Pa-O National Organization vice-chairman Khun San Lwin, and Wa National Unity Party vice-chairman Yan Kyaw were also appointed to the SAC.

Both the Pa-O and Wa parties were among the 34 political parties that attended a meeting ahead of the November 2020 general election that reportedly encouraged Min Aung Hlaing to stage a coup.

The regime has also formed a central advisory board for the reconstituted SAC with civilian members of its advisory board.

Among them are Thein Nyunt, Khin Maung Swe, Arakan National Party spokeswoman Aye Nu Sein, ethnic Chin former bank manager Moung Har; former Shan State parliamentary speaker and USDP member Sai Lone Saing, vice-chair of the Kayah State Democratic Party Saw Daniel and Dr. Banyar Aung Moe from the Mon Unity Party.

The nine-member advisory board’s leader, Saw Tun Aung Myint, previously served as the regime’s ethnic affairs minister. His replacement is a former military officer and SAC member, the ethnically Kachin Jeng Phang Naw Taung.

UEC member Than Swe, chairman of the Union Service Board, succeeds Wunna Maung Lwin as foreign minister. And Aung Thaw, chairman of the Russia-Myanmar Friendship Association, succeeds Dr. Htay Aung as the hotels and tourism minister. Dr. Htay Aung will chair the Myanmar Anti-Corruption Commission. One other commission member was sacked.

Three Union Election Commission (UEC) members, the deputy education minister and the Mon State chief minister were forced to step down, and the chief ministers of Mandalay Region and Mon, Rakhine and Shan states were replaced.

UEC member Than Win was appointed to the Union Civil Service Board while retaining his UEC position. Retired police colonel Sitt Aye, who was an adviser to the junta’s Defence Ministry, will head the Union Civil Service Board.

He was awarded the Wunna Kyawhtin title by Min Aung Hlaing last year and was an adviser to U Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government.