Shwe Mann & Suu Kyi: A new ‘romance’?
As Thura U Shwe Mann is sidelined by his party, some observers are looking askance at the odd couple’s alliance Opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi raised fears last week for crucial November elections as the government tried to calm political tensions after the surprise ousting of the ruling party chief.
The dramatic removal of Thura U Shwe Mann as head of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) was seen as a decisive move by President U Thein Sein and his military allies to tighten their political grip before the polls.
Shwe Mann tried to appear calm in the wake of the USDP’s internal coup. And one of his moves was to reach out to Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi met Shwe Mann for a one-hour closed-door discussion in the wake of his ouster from the USDP and ahead of the reopening of Parliament. What was discussed was not made public.
Speaking to the media at Parliament in Nay Pyi Taw, Suu Kyi indicated her National League for Democracy party was an ally of Shwe Mann.
Shwe Mann’s dismissal by the president made it clear “who is the enemy and who is the ally,” she told media.
Suu Kyi said the NLD would work with the “ally.”
Speaking as MPs gathered in the capital Nay Pyi Taw for a final round of parliamentary meetings before the November 8 vote, Suu Kyi said the ruling party move had stoked concerns for the elections, which are seen as a key test of democratic reforms.
“People are worried. We all have a responsibility for that,” she told a scrum of reporters.
The Nobel laureate also added
Thura U Shwe Mann, left, with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, during a meeting back in 2012. Photo: EPA