Suu Kyi Vouches for Party Picks in Rare Media Address

By The Irrawaddy 3 February 2016

Aung San Suu Kyi, chairwoman of the National League for Democracy (NLD), addressed reporters in Naypyidaw on Wednesday, vowing to streamline media relations between the Parliament and the press and conveying her confidence in two newly-appointed parliamentary speakers and their deputies. Below is an abridged transcript of her remarks, which were delivered to the press at her Rule of Law Committee office in the capital and shared online by social media users.

The choice of Win Myint [as Speaker of the Lower House] is not very surprising. He has worked skillfully for the Parliament over three years. He is a leader in the NLD and a legal expert.

T Khun Myat has been chosen as deputy speaker, the second highest position in the Lower House. We wanted to choose someone from the USDP [Union Solidarity and Development Party], who was also an ethnic minority, because we want our Parliament to be inclusive and represent the Union.

He is also the chairman of the Draft-Bill Committee, and he is very skillful with parliamentary affairs, rules and laws. We chose him as he is a good fit for the position.

Few people know Mahn Win Khaing Than [who was appointed as Upper House Speaker]. He has not been a member of the NLD for very long, but we believe he has worked faithfully toward democracy. He is also an ethnic minority and a legal expert, and he is cooperative. 

We chose as his deputy, for the second higheset position in the Upper House, a lawmaker from the Arakan National Party. Aye Tha Aung is not only a leader of the Arakan Party, but he has also been an ally [of the NLD] and worked together with us for many years.

As I have often mentioned, when we were in trouble, the only ones who helped us were the ethnic parties. Among them were the ALD [Arakan League for Democracy], led by Aye Tha Aung, and the SNLD [Shan Nationalities League for Democracy] led by Khun Tun Oo. We are grateful and have not forgotten their alliance. That is why we proposed that Aye Tha Aung would be suitable.

I am very grateful that there were no objections to our nominations. I am very glad for the cooperation and thankful to other political parties and military lawmakers. I think the public will also be pleased; those who wish to live in peace and security.

Suu Kyi fielded a number of questions about who will be appointed to the new government, which will be formed in early April, though she declined to reveal her party’s shortlist for the presidency and other key positions.