Shwe Mann Back at Work in Burma’s Capital

By Zarni Mann & Lawi Weng 14 August 2015

Shwe Mann, the Union Parliament Speaker who was dismissed from his post as ruling party chairman on Wednesday night, was back in his parliamentary office in Naypyidaw on Friday, according to a parliament staffer.

When news first broke of his dramatic late night removal on Wednesday, speculation swirled on the whereabouts of the now former chairman of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and whether he had been placed under house arrest.

Khin Maung Oo, a parliamentary officer in Naypyidaw, told The Irrawaddy that Shwe Mann came to his office as normal on Friday.

The former general, whose presidential ambitions have been well publicized, also made his first public comments on Friday since his sudden fall from grace.

In a short Facebook post, Shwe Mann thanked those supporters who had expressed concern for him.

“I will keep working together with the people and doing good things for them until my time has ended,” Shwe Mann wrote in the post which was accompanied by a photo of him sitting at his desk.

Deposed USDP secretary general Maung Maung Thein was currently at home, Khin Maung Oo said, but his movements had not been restricted.

Only hours before the purge of Shwe Mann loyalists on Wednesday night, President Thein Sein announced the resignation of several ministers who have now taken up key positions in the party’s central committee.

Tin Naing Thein, who resigned his ministerial position in the President’s Office on Wednesday, replaced Maung Maung Thein as USDP general secretary.

The former party vice chairman, Htay Oo, will jointly chair the party alongside President Thein Sein, according to a USDP statement issued on Thursday.

Friday is the deadline for Burma’s political parties to submit candidate lists to the Union Election Commission for the national poll in November.

The USDP revealed on Wednesday that at least one senior administration official, President’s Office Minister Soe Thein, had tendered his resignation from the party and would contest the election as an independent. Another Thein Sein ally, Aung Min, was also reportedly considering running as an independent candidate.

But in what appears to be another indication of a party hierarchy in flux, a leadership roster posted to the USDP website on Friday included the names of both men—or unrelated party cadres who share the same name—as members of the USDP central committee.

The candidacy status of the two President’s Office ministers remained unclear on Friday evening.