Asia

Aung San Suu Kyi to run Myanmar foreign ministry

  • 22 March 2016
  • From the section Asia
Htin Kyaw, left, walks with NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi at Myanmar's parliament in Naypyitaw. 15 March 2016. Image copyright AP
Image caption President-elect Htin Kyaw said his appointment was a victory for Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won historic elections in Myanmar, is to take a place in the new cabinet.

Ms Suu Kyi is barred from the presidency herself and had been widely expected not to take a ministry.

But her name was on a list of 18 submitted to parliament by President-elect Htin Kyaw.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Yangon says she will head up foreign affairs, energy, education and be minister in the president's office.

There are no other women appointed to the cabinet, he adds.

Myanmar's constitution, drafted by the outgoing military rulers, prevents Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president because her two sons have British passports.

Despite weeks of negotiation, the NLD was unable to persuade the military to remove or suspend the clause.


Analysis: Jonah Fisher, BBC News, Yangon

Image copyright AP
Image caption The military maintain control of 25% of seats in parliament

Aung San Suu Kyi had already made it clear that whatever her title she was going to run the new government.

She could have done that just by becoming minister in the president's office, sitting next to her friend and proxy Htin Kyaw and telling him what to do.

But that clearly wasn't enough.

Ms Suu Kyi has had four and a half months to reflect on who should steer one of her biggest priorities, education reform.

She's also had time to consider who should oversee the vital energy portfolio, and who should represent a resurgent Myanmar, also known as Burma, at summits abroad. And after all that time the answer was staring back from the mirror.

Aung San Suu Kyi decided that there could be no-one else, and that she would have to directly run three of the most time-consuming ministries.

Only time will tell how that works in practice. But given there are only five working days in a week these ministries could well be guided by someone who shows up for just one day in five.

Even with the most efficient support team around you, it's hardly a platform to deliver much-needed ambitious change.


Fifteen of the names on the ministerial list were chosen by Ms Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and former political prisoner, and three by the commander-in-chief of the army.

Parliament is expected to vote later in the week to confirm the posts.

The NLD has a huge majority in both houses of parliament, although the military automatically occupies 25% of seats.

If she does become foreign minister, under the complex political structure Ms Suu Kyi will have to stand down as an MP and refrain from all NLD activities.


Who is Htin Kyaw?

Image copyright Reuters
  • Aged 70 and Ms Suu Kyi's close aide.
  • He is said to be a quietly spoken man who attended university in the UK. He has a reputation for honesty and loyalty, and has kept a low profile.
  • His father, the writer and poet Min Thu Wun, won a seat for the party at the 1990 election.
  • His wife, Su Su Lwin, is the daughter of an NLD founder, as well as being a sitting MP, and a prominent party member.
  • He has played a senior role at the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, the charity founded in honour of Suu Kyi's late mother, and has been frequently seen at the NLD leader's side, serving as her driver from time to time.