House Speaker Shwe Mann opened the Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday morning, in what is sure to be a testy session following his ouster as ruling party chairman late last week.
The Burmese government spoke for the first time on Monday after the abrupt removal of Shwe Mann, saying that the move would not affect its efforts to uphold the results of the upcoming general election in November.
Following a meeting between President Thein Sein and ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) members after the purge, the government published a statement in state media on Monday, saying the changes are “a part of a normal course of business for a registered political party”.
“Preparations are now underway for holding of general elections on 8 November, expected to be the most widely participated and inclusive elections since independence. The government shall ensure that the elections are free and fair by fully cooperating with the Union Election Commission, political parties, civil society and the public,” the press release said.
“The government shall unconditionally accept the results of the elections and honour the wishes of the electorate in accordance with existing laws and regulations.”
The Ministry of Information has also spoken on the recent shutdown of Cherry FM, operated by the daughter-in-law of ousted former party leader Shwe Mann, warning that the ministry has the authority to unilaterally silence any media outlets.
Tint Swe, the ministry’s permanent secretariat, told DVB that currently all broadcasters operate in conjunction with the government, as laws pertaining to media publishing are yet to be adopted.
“According to the contract a broadcaster in joint-venture with a media outlet under a government ministry can be shut down under any circumstance,” he said, adding that a contract is automatically expired when the ministry decides that a broadcasters operations should be suspended.”
Zay Zin Latt, the wife of Shwe Mann’s son Toe Naing Mann, operated Cherry FM, which was widely considering to be the mouthpiece of the former party leader. Despite revoking it’s broadcasting permissions, Tint Swe admitted the station had not violated any regulations in their contract with the ministry.
Read more about Shwe Mann’s dismissal here.