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Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi Drops 2 Cabinet Posts

  • VOA News

Myanmar's NLD party leader Aung San Suu Kyi smiles with army members during the handover ceremony of outgoing President Thein Sein and new President Htin Kyaw at the presidential palace in Naypyitaw, March 30, 2016.

Myanmar's NLD party leader Aung San Suu Kyi smiles with army members during the handover ceremony of outgoing President Thein Sein and new President Htin Kyaw at the presidential palace in Naypyitaw, March 30, 2016.

Myanmar's ruling party leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has given up two of her cabinet positions, freeing her up to potentially take on a prime minister-like post the party wants to create for her.

Aung San Suu Kyi is constitutionally barred from the presidency but has promised to rule the country through President Htin Kyaw, a longtime friend and confidant sworn in last month.

The longtime democracy leader initially took four cabinet positions in the new government, which is dominated bay her National League for Democracy Party, or NLD. But on Monday the NLD announced she was dropping two of the portfolios.

NLD lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would create a powerful "state advisor" position for the Nobel Peace laureate, in an attempt to formalize her new leadership roles.

The bill is expected to clear the parliament by later this week. But the move could be rejected by the military, which has effective veto power and which views the move as unconstitutional.

Myanmar's new president Htin Kyaw, left, receives the presidential seal from outgoing president Thein Sein, during a handover ceremony in Naypyitaw, March 30, 2016.

Myanmar's new president Htin Kyaw, left, receives the presidential seal from outgoing president Thein Sein, during a handover ceremony in Naypyitaw, March 30, 2016.

The NLD came to power following a landslide November election that ushered in the country's first civilian-led government in more than five decades.

But the military still remains a political force -- it holds 25 percent of all parliamentary seats, plus the key ministerial posts of home affairs and defense, enough to give it veto power over any proposed constitutional changes.

Myanmar's constitution -- drafted by the military junta before turning over power to a quasi-civilian government in 2010 -- bars anyone with a foreign-born spouse or children from becoming president -- a clause that applies to Aung San Suu Kyi, since her late husband was British, as are her two sons.

Some material for this report came from AFP.

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