The election-winning National League for Democracy (NLD) will install its own MPs as the chief ministers of Burma’s 14 state and divisions, a party spokesperson has said.
Win Htein, an NLD central executive committee member, said the party has internally nominated MPs for the roles that permit unparalleled control over political and economic decision making in a state of division. Win Htein stopped short of identifying nominees by name.
“We nominated our MPs for the chief minister positions in line with our policy, but we won’t disclose who they are yet,” Win Htein said. He went on to reject rumours that the Burmese military had demanded to oversee the appointment of chief ministers in Rangoon Division and Arakan, Kachin and Shan states.
According the 2008 Constitution, Burma’s president is directly responsible for the appointment of sitting regional assembly MPs to the chief minister roles. The chief minister is not required to come from the majority party in a state or division’s legislature.
In January, the Arakan National Party (ANP) threatened to oppose the NLD government if it wasn’t granted the authority to lead the state’s parliament. The ANP fills the most seats of any party in Arakan’s States legislature, but fell short of commanding an outright majority when in November it won 23 of the 47 seats in Arakan State’s legislature.
Zaw Aye Maung, the incumbent Arakan Ethnic Affairs minister in Rangoon Division, said that while the party could not stop the NLD from appointing their own candidate to the role, the ANP will ensure checks and balances are carried out in the course of governance.
“We can only object to the NLD’s appointee [to the chief minister position] if the individual they choose is unqualified, but otherwise we cannot. They can appoint anyone they like but we will use our status as the majority in the regional assembly to ensure there are checks and balances in the Arakan government – whether they really serve the interests of the Arakanese people,” Zaw Aye Maung said, adding that his party is willing to negotiate with the NLD on the matter.