Ousted head of Myanmar's ruling party will abide by decision to remove him: Son

Former USDP leaderShwe Mann speaking to the media during a press conference on Feb 11, 2015.
Former USDP leaderShwe Mann speaking to the media during a press conference on Feb 11, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

NAYPYIDAW (AFP) - The ousted leader of Myanmar's ruling party has no choice but to abide by the decision to remove him, his son said on Friday, after the unexpected putsch ahead of November elections.

Shwe Mann was removed as head of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) on Thursday after a night of high political drama, which saw security forces enter the party base in the capital Naypyidaw.

The sudden ouster followed months of bitter infighting within the party ahead of the November 8 polls, which are seen as a major test of the former junta-ruled nation's transition to democracy.

Party leaders have sought to downplay the exit of Shwe Mann - who is also parliamentary speaker - while the ex-leader has so far remained silent on the subject.

Speaking to AFP on Friday, his son Toe Naing Mann said his father had no choice but to accept the decision.

"As he is still a member of the USDP he has to obey the party's decision," he said, adding that the extra security forces deployed at the party compound early Thursday morning had now disbanded.

The number of police was back to "normal", he added.

Shwe Mann had been billed as a possible compromise candidate for the presidency as opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi - whose National League for Democracy (NLD) party is expected to make large gains at the polls - is barred from becoming president by the junta-era constitution.

He had previously expressed a willingness to work with the Nobel laureate.

But in recent months, rumours of a deepening rift between him and President Thein Sein, both former generals under Myanmar's military regime, had begun to surface.

The timing of Shwe Mann's outing came just before the deadline for candidates to register to stand in the polls runs out later Friday.

The use of police to enact the apparent putsch has alarmed a number of western nations.

The United States expressed concerns over the "apparent use of state security forces" to manage Shwe Mann's exit on Thursday, calling for the protection of public trust in the democratic process.

In a statement late Thursday, the British embassy in Yangon added: "We are concerned by reports that the police were involved yesterday and this morning in the resolution of a party dispute. Public trust in the democratic process is essential as we approach the elections in November."

NLD spokesman Nyan Win said his party would not comment in detail until further information over Shwe Mann's exit became available.

"What we can say now is this is not a small case. We think it's an important case. We are still watching the situation," he told AFP.