Suu Kyi says Myanmar Cabinet to include ethnic groups, other parties

National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Nov 26 that Myanmar's new Cabinet will include members of other parties and ethnic minorities.
National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Nov 26 that Myanmar's new Cabinet will include members of other parties and ethnic minorities. PHOTO: EPA

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar's new Cabinet will include members of other political parties and representatives of ethnic minorities, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday (Nov 26), stressing the need for national reconciliation.

The NLD won a majority in both houses of Myanmar's parliament and also faired better than expected against ethnic political parties in regional legislatures.

But Nobel laureate Suu Kyi has emphasised that the first democratically elected government in more than 50 years will seek to reconcile the country's many disparate political groups.

"Our party has won an overwhelming majority of the seats but we won't take them all," Suu Kyi said, referring to Cabinet seats in an interview with Radio Free Asia's Myanmar language service broadcast on Thursday.

"As I said earlier, we will cooperate with others with the spirit of sharing our success with them based on building national reconciliation. Of course the NLD will lead. It is the mandate the people have given to us at our request.

"We will include ethnic representatives who are not NLD members and others who can benefit the country."

The interview did not touch on the persecuted minority Rohingya Muslims who were not allowed to vote in the election and are effectively stateless in their own land.

The NLD captured enough seats in the national-level legislature to have its choice of president, who is elected by members of parliament. The president then selects the Cabinet.

Suu Kyi has said that regardless of who is appointed president, she will call the shots as leader of the winning party.

The new parliament will sit and elect a president in February, and the new administration will begin its five-year term on April 1.

A quarter of all parliament seats are reserved for unelected military officials and three powerful ministries - defence, home affairs and border affairs - are under the remit of the Commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Suu Kyi stressed the importance of meeting with Min Aung Hlaing and President Thein Sein to insure smooth transition of power. Both have accepted Suu Kyi's invitation to meet, but no date has been set.

"I want these meetings to happen soonest," she said. "We should start taking steps fast, one after another, towards a smooth transfer of power."