Burma President Promotes Reformers In New Government

Posted August 27th, 2012 at 6:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Burma's president has reshuffled his cabinet, promoting allies who back his reformist agenda.

In the long-awaited shake-up, President Thein Sein Monday awarded several of his key ministers additional posts in the Office of the President.

They include the ministers of Finance, Rail Transportation, and National Planning and Economic Development. The ministers are seen as allies of the president who have helped to implement reforms he has promoted.

Another change is the reassignment of Information Minister Kyaw Hsan who was widely seen as close to the former military junta. He is replaced by Labor and Social Welfare Minister Aung Kyi, who has represented the government in talks with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The reshuffle of nine ministers has been anticipated for months. A further 15 new deputy ministers are also being appointed.

The director of the Burmese President's Office, Zaw Htay, told VOA that the reshuffling process is just starting and will later be followed by reconstruction. “This is just the beginning, more will come. This is not the final.”

President Thein Sein has introduced a series of political and economic reforms since taking office last year, ending

decades of military dictatorship. But, he has faced criticism from government conservatives who are reluctant to give up the powers previously enjoyed by the military.

Since taking power in March 2011, President Thein Sein has released hundreds of political prisoners, eased press restrictions, and allowed Aung San Suu Kyi to successfully run for parliament.