Reforming reshuffle by Burma’s president
Burma’s president Thein Sein has announced a long-awaited reshuffle of his cabinet that sees his top reformers moved into key ministerial posts and reassignments for remnants of the former military junta.
Minister of industry Soe Thein; minister of national planning and economic development Tin Naing Thein, and rail transportation minister Aung Min – Thein Sein’s closest allies – were yesterday given posts in the Office of the President, moves seen as efforts to bolster the fast-moving reforms in the post-military era.
The reshuffle of nine ministers, announced on state television, has been anticipated for months and is seen as a strong message of intent by the president, a former military heavyweight who has surprised the world by freeing more than 650 political prisoners, scrapping media censorship and introducing broad economic liberalisation.
Two ministers believed to be close to retired junta strongman Than Shwe were assigned to less prominent ministries.
Aung Min’s move frees him up to pursue complex political negotiations with at least ten ethnic minority rebel groups with which the government has agreed ceasefires after years of conflict during five decades of military rule.
As industry minister and chairman of the Myanmar Investment Commission, Soe Thein was seen as a integral part of efforts to set up special economic zones and attract foreign businesses to the impoverished but strategically-located country rich in oil, gas, timber and precious stones.
A member of the president’s advisory board said that the reshuffle was intended to make the government “more active and vibrant”.
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