Burma names new chief justice

Top Burmese judge Tun Tun Oo has been appointed the country’s new chief justice, while former Lieutenant-General Tin Aye, who yesterday resigned his parliamentary post, is strongly tipped to head the Union Election Commission.

State media said yesterday that Tun Tun Oo, who had held the position of deputy chief justice of the country’s top court in Naypyidaw, had been personally nominated by President Thein Sein.

The 53-year-old will head the revamped Supreme Court of the Union, described in the 2008 constitution as the “court of final appeal” – effectively the country’s top judicial authority.

Khin Shwe, an MP for the election-winning Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), told DVB today that Tun Tun Oo “was approved by the Union Parliament this morning with no objection.”

The influence that Thein Sein’s personal endorsement of Tun Tun Oo likely played on the decision will not be lost on Burma observers who have long criticised the lack of independence of the country’s legal system.

The appointment comes amidst a shake-up of Burma’s administrative and judicial departments, as well as the creation of a Constitutional Tribunal of the Union.

The sudden resignation from parliament yesterday of Tin Aye, who had been the Burmese junta’s sixth-in-command before running in the elections, was met with surprise by observers, some of whom alleged that there had been a rift in the senior ranks of the government

But Khin Shwe said that the departure was likely a prelude to his appointed as head of the Union Election Commission. He is known to be close to the top generals, but is legally banned from taking that position whilst holding a seat in parliament.

He had also been personally nominated by Thein Sein, who was Burma’s former prime minister before quitting his military position in order to run in the polls.

Rather than being a total remake of extra-governmental departments however, it appears that the same key players will continue to pull the strings, with former UEC chief Thein Soe also appointed to head the Constitutional Tribunal of the Union.

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