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Forum LockedBurma PM replaced by hardliner

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    Posted: 20-Oct-2004 at 07:40
Originally posted by bbc bbc wrote:

Burma PM replaced by hardliner
Burma's new Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt
Khin Nyunt 'resigned for health reasons', state media said
Burma has confirmed the departure of Khin Nyunt as prime minister, saying that he has been replaced by a senior figure in the military.

Burmese state media said Khin Nyunt had resigned for health reasons, but officials in Thailand said he had been ousted and was under house arrest.

Correspondents say the replacement of Khin Nyunt by apparent hardliner Lt Gen Soe Win is a blow to Burma's reformers.

The US and UN expressed concern and urged Burma to commit itself to reform.

Khin Nyunt was at least prepared to discuss the release from house arrest of pro-democracy movement leader Aung San Suu Kyi, says BBC South East Asia correspondent Kylie Morris.

Soe Win (file photo)
Soe Win has been named as the new prime minister

However, 56-year-old Soe Win - described as a trusted deputy to the country's top general Than Shwe - is believed to advocate a hard line against the movement.

Our correspondent says the generals now seem firmly in control of Burma's future, and may use the opportunity to push through a new constitution.

A sober announcement on Burmese TV and radio said Khin Nyunt, the number three in the Burmese hierarchy, had been "permitted to retire for health reasons".

In recent months diplomats have spoken of a power struggle between the two men.

The dispute appears to be more about business than politics, analysts say.

KHIN NYUNT'S POSITION
Number three in junta hierarchy
Appointed Prime Minister in 2003, in perceived demotion
Sponsored "roadmap" for democracy and freeing of Aung San Suu Kyi
But power struggle with senior leader Than Shwe hampered progress

The announcement said the order had been signed by Senior General Than Shwe.

Thai government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair said the person who allegedly signed the order for Khin Nyunt's arrest said he was involved in corruption and unsuitable for the post.

Soldiers have been seen taking up position outside Khin Nyunt's house in Rangoon, and his son is said to have been arrested.

He has also been removed from the post of head of military intelligence.

Several companies run by the intelligence service have been shut down in recent days, amid reports that intelligence officials have been arrested.

There was an increased troop presence outside military intelligence headquarters in the city, witnesses said.

Secret police

The US state department said the change of prime minister did not "point in the direction of allowing freedom of exercise of political and human rights".

It called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and for her party to be allowed to take part in the political process.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said he was "concerned" at the developments, and called on the military government to remain committed to its promised "road map" to democracy.

Khin Nyunt had announced the seven-point plan soon after his appointment last year.

A spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy said the change was unlikely to affect the party.

"People talk about Khin Nyunt's moderation but... his road map doesn't give us any chance anyway," said U Lwin.

As prime minister, Khin Nyunt relied upon Burma's secret police to shore up his power.

But Than Shwe and his number two, Maung Aye, hold the loyalty of the key factions within the army.

Amid mounting signs of disagreement within the high echelons of Burma's military hierarchy, a cabinet reshuffle last month promoted so-called hardliners at the expense of others who - like Khin Nyunt - took a more open stance.

I'm afraid it's not going to become a democracy over there soon.
"Some argue that atheism partly stems from a failure to fairly and judiciously consider the facts"
"Atheists deny the existence of Satan, while simultaneously doing his work."

- Conservapedia
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