Burmese Junta Honchos Quit the Army

Leaders plan to stand as civilians in tightly controlled election
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2010 4:35 AM CDT
Burmese Junta Honchos Quit the Army
Myanmar Senior Gen. Than Shwe reviews Myanmar soldiers during ceremonies Saturday, March 27, 2010, on the 65th Armed Forces Day in Naypitaw, Myanmar. The junta chief warned political parties to behave while campaigning for historic elections later this year, noting Saturday that the armed forces can...   (AP Photo/David Longstreath)

Burma's prime minister and 22 of his cabinet ministers have swapped their military uniforms for civvies, a move the junta's critics say is part of the country's shift from a military dictatorship to a civilian one. Observers believe the leaders—who will keep their posts in the country's government—have resigned the army to stand in the elections due to take place this year, the Guardian reports.

Burma's new constitution creates a legislature made up of 110 military representatives and 330 elected civilians, and the military leaders ' resignation is seen as an effort for the military to retain influence beyond its quota. More than 20 new political parties have applied to stand in the election, Burma's first in 20 years. Five of them, mostly with close ties to the junta, have won approval.
(More Myanmar stories.)

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