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Asia

'Major military reshuffle in Myanmar'

Myanmar's top military leaders have reportedly resigned from their posts in the army. According to a senior official the move would enable them to take part in the upcoming elections in Myanmar.

General Than Shwe

General Than Shwe

Polls in Myanmar are scheduled for November 7 this year. The top three military leaders, Than Shwe, Muang Aye and Thura Shwe Man, are reportedly to be replaced by junior officers. The elected government will be represented in the upper and lower houses of the parliament, which will choose between three nominees for the post of president. The two rejected nominees will become the country's vice presidents.

It is believed that the reshuffle would enable Than Shwe to become the president. A report on the Democratic Voice of Burma website said that Than Shwe and Maung Aye were preparing to take over the top two posts of President and Vice President of the pro junta Union Solidarity and Development Party, the USDP.

Pro democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi

Pro democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi

Senior General to remain the Head of State

It is expected that Than Shwe will retain his status as Head of State until the elections in November. Earlier this year, 27 military officials resigned from their posts to take up jobs as government ministers.

Critics have dismissed elections in Myanmar as a political stunt to reinforce the power of the military. The country last held elections in 1990, when Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won by a landslide but was denied the chance to rule. Suu Kyi has also been denied the right to contest elections after being arrested earlier this year.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has decided to boycott the elections, calling them unfair. The junta has disbanded the party. Nearly 42 parties have registered to contest the elections in November.

mg/AFP/Reuters
Editor: Grahame Lucas

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