Myanmar's army chief set to stand down

Myanmar Eleven May 22, 2015 1:00 am #block_media{ position:relative; display:block; clear:both; } #tab_photo,#tab_video{ display:inline-block; width:60px; height:auto; padding:3px; position:absolute; top:-25px; left:500px; text-align:center; background-color:#ccc; color:#000; cursor:pointer; z-index:0; } @-moz-document url-prefix() { #tab_photo,#tab_video{ top:-26px; } } #tab_video{ left:564px; } #block_media .tab_media_active{ background-color:#0c3e6f; color:#fff; } #slides_box,.box-vdo-top{ z-index:600; } The commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, will step down within the next two months and enter the country's political scene, according to an article in The Daily Star. The current second in charge, Vice General Soe Win will replace him within weeks, according to sources close to the general. The official order was signed earlier this month.

The move will come just as the country prepares for multi-party elections later this year.

"Clearly Min Aung Hlaing has political ambitions, and is retiring to enter politics," said Win Htein - a National League for Democracy (NLD) MP and a member of the party’s central executive.

The article by Larry Jagan, a specialist on Myanmar and a former BBC World Service New Editor for the region, furthered that as part of the plan for the future, it is also almost certain that Soe Win will instruct the military MPs in the next parliament to select Min Aung Hlaing as their vice president.

There has been speculation about the army commander’s future plans for some time now, with many believing he was due to retire this year. The compulsory retirement age in the military is 60, but earlier this year he insisted he only reached the retiring age next year.

Min Aung Hlaing certainly presents himself as a tough, confident, no nonsense commander. Even to the extent of making his subordinates in his office wear bulletproof vests. Soe Win on the other hand has the reputation of being a loner, concerned about excessive corruption and prepared to consider dialogue as a means to resolve conflicts and tensions.

That would be good news for Aung San Suu Kyi - in terms of negotiating a coalition government after the next elections and proposed constitutional change - and the ethnic minorities, who will still be pushing for political dialogue on Federalism and are likely to still be in the finishing throes of signing a nation ceasefire agreement, when Soe Win takes over as Commander-in-Chief.

"With Soe Win at the helm, it certainly opens up the possibility of discussions," said Win Htein optimistically.

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