Intrigue and illness in Myanmar’s junta
BANGKOK – This month’s surprise announcement in Myanmar of a planned national referendum on a new constitution in May and multi-party democratic elections by 2010 are all part of Senior General Than Shwe’s game plan to hold onto power and ensure his family’s interests are secured. The question now is whether or not the junta leader’s health will hold out that long.
A major turning point in the competition occurred nearly six months ago, when Maung Aye was replaced as the head of the junta’s powerful Trade Council, right before the beginning of the August unrest. Maung Aye was also reportedly replaced as military chief during last year’s protests, where Thura Shwe Mann took charge of security arrangements, including suppression of the demonstrations, and commenced chairing crucial National Security Council meetings on Than Shwe’s orders.
Since the crackdown, however, the wheels of government have reportedly ground to a halt. “Ministers have been told directly by Than Shwe that he does not need to be consulted on any issue, other than those related to political or foreign policy issues,” said a military source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. But because officials fear making any moves that could be perceived as a challenge to Than Shwe’s power, decision-making is in gridlock, according to the source.
“There’s total inertia in [the capital] Naypyidaw. No one dares make a decision, even in regard to the smallest matters without approval from the top, which is rarely forthcoming,” a senior government official recently confided to a Western diplomat who spoke with Asia Times Online.
Read more Larry Jagan
Filed under: Blogging | Tagged: Activists, ASEAN, Atrocities, Burma, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Democracy, Malaysia, Military Dictators, Military Junta, Myanmar, NLD, Rule of Law, Self Defence, Singapore, SPDC, Tatmadaw, Thailand | Leave a comment »