Conflicts & War

Elected MPs challenge Myanmar junta, appoint four ministers

Yangon, Myanmar, March 3 (efe-epa).- Elected parliamentarians who do not recognize Myanmar’s military junta have challenged the military and appointed several ministers, including a foreign minister.

The appointments were made Tuesday by the parliamentary committee, which groups part of the parliamentarians elected in November and could not formally assume their seats due to the Feb. 1 military coup.

The army stopped the majority of the elected government, including deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, on the morning of the coup, canceling the parliamentary inauguration scheduled for the same day.

Zin Mar Aung, 44, will be in charge of the foreign ministry and succeeds Suu Kyi, detained by the military facing various charges such as inciting “fear or alarm” and illegal importation of telephone devices.

Lwin Ko Latt will serve as Minister for the Office of the President and for the Office of the Union Government; Tin Tun Naing will be finance and foreign economic investment minister, while Zaw Wai Soe will be the labor, education and health minister.

The committee had already revalidated the positions of President Win Myint and State Councilor Suu Kyi, both in military custody.

The Myanmar military junta and hitherto United Nations ambassador, a critic of the coup, are embroiled in a diplomatic dispute over the country’s representation to the United Nations, the organization said Tuesday.

The military announced over the weekend the dismissal of Kyaw Moe Tun, appointed by the overthrown government after he delivered a resounding Friday speech to the UN General Assembly calling for measures against the coup-makers.

However, Kyaw Moe Tun continues to defend he is Myanmar’s legitimate representative and has told the organization in an official letter, spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday.

The UN also received a letter from Myanmar’s foreign ministry the day before the diplomat’s dismissal saying the deputy ambassador is temporarily responsible for the representation as charge d’affaires.

Myanmar’s army justified the seizure of power on alleged electoral fraud in November’s elections, where international observers did not detect rigging and in which the National League for Democracy, led by Suu Kyi, won a landslide victory.

Since the coup, hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated throughout the country against the military junta – who ruled Myanmar from 1962 to 2011 – despite brutal repression by authorities. Clashes have left at least 30 dead, many after police used live ammunition on crowds. EFE-EPA


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