Shwe Mann Questions Legality of USDP Ousting

By Kyaw Phyo Tha 25 April 2016

RANGOON — Three days after he was sacked along with others from the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), former chairman Shwe Mann has requested that party members review whether the dismissal was in accordance with the law.

He posted a statement on his Facebook page on Monday confirming that he had received a letter outlining his official expulsion from the military-backed party on Friday. Shwe Mann also admitted that he had learned 16 other party members had reportedly met the same fate; many of those dismissed are serving on the Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission, over which he presides.

Founded in early February after the Aung San Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) took up a majority seats in Parliament, the 23-member legislative oversight commission is tasked with supporting parliamentary committees as they amend existing laws and draft new bills.

In the statement, Shwe Mann said that regardless of his party membership, he would keep working for people’s security, prosperity and the country’s development.

“Though this is an intra-party issue, I assume it may somehow be concerned with the interests of the country and the citizens,” he said. “I think people, including USDP members and relevant authorities, need to look over whether the action by some USDP top members towards me and the commission members is in accordance with the existing laws and rules.”

At the time of reporting, it was not yet clear who in the commission had been sacked as the USDP had not released a statement on the issue.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy over the weekend, Tint Zaw, a USDP executive committee member said that in addition to Shwe Mann, the NLD government’s Religious Affairs Minister Aung Ko was among the 17 who were sacked.

“We have allowed those persons to resign from the party as they have violated the party’s charter. It was the decision of the central executive committee,” said Tint Zaw, before adding that since the dismissal concerned “internal affairs of the party,” they “wanted to handle it quietly.”

The ousting was carried out almost immediately after Burma’s ex-president Thein Sein resumed his duty as the chairman of the USDP, following a short stint within the Buddhist monkhood. He stepped down from the presidency on March 31.

Shwe Mann, Aung Ko and other senior USDP members were purged from the party leadership by Thein Sein last year during a midnight raid at the organization’s headquarters in Naypyidaw.

Since then, both Shwe Mann and Aung Ko had remained regular USDP members.

The Irrawaddy reporter Htet Naing Zaw contributed to this article from Naypyidaw.