Army reps named for parliament

State media in Burma has named the 388 military officials who will take up seats in the country’s new parliament, due to hold its first session next week.

The pre-appointed personnel will sit in all three parliaments – 110 in the People’s Parliament, 56 in the Nationalities Parliament and 222 in the regional legislatures. They rank from brigadier-general down to captain.

The ruling junta announced prior to elections on 7 November last year that each parliament would contain an unelected military quota who will hold significant sway over the decision-making process – under the 2008 constitution, they can appoint 25 percent of all legislators, enabling them the power of veto.

DVB has learnt that the officials, all of whom are men, yesterday finished a two-week parliamentary training course in the capital, Naypyidaw. A source close to the army said that the 388 include Burmese graduates from military schools in Russia, as well as army doctors, but that no personnel from combat and infantry troops were appointed.

The first session of parliament is due to be held on 31 January. The 1000-plus MPs elected in last year’s polls have been carefully instructed in what to wear and what items are forbidden from being brought into the parliament.

The elections were won in a landslide by the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Observers claim the lines between USDP ministers and the military will be distinguishable only by the uniforms – many junta officials resigned prior to the elections in oprder to compete for the USDP.

Despite the USDP’s overwhelming victory, politicians from 22 parties, as well as several independent candidates, will travel to Naypyidaw next week in lieu of the first session.

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