14 Jan President’s spokesman defends ‘unfocused’ 48-leader meeting

Written by Yu Wai Published in Politics Read 4339 times
 The gathering of 48 political leaders at the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw on the morning of January 12, 2015. Photo: Mizzima

President U Thein Sein’s choice to gather 47 people for a meeting on January 12 has been defended by Minister of Information and presidential spokesperson U Ye Htut, saying the talks were held because the government needed to brainstorm ideas.

The Minister made his remarks during a discussion on citizen involvement in the government’s reform process held at the Central Hotel in Yangon on January 13.

Responding to criticism over the 48-person meeting held the day before in Nay Pyi Taw attendees included the president, ethnic affairs ministers, members of parliament, political party leaders and ethnic leaders.

National League for Democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and some other political party leaders who participated have criticised the meeting, saying it was unfocused and lacked substance.

Also on January 13, the NLD issued a statement complaining about the meeting, declaring it unfruitful and suggesting that it should have focused on constitutional reform, the issue seen by the party as the most crucial in Myanmar’s political reform process.

The statement said the meeting involved discussion of the democratic transition and reform process, national reconciliation and the peace, the upcoming elections, and the need for transparency and political stability.

In response to this criticism, U Ye Htut said: “The president invited many people to attend the meeting so that he would receive many suggestions. Key players need to listen to those suggestions.”

The President invited ethnic affairs ministers to attend the meeting because he needs to listen to the views of the ethnic minorities, said the minister.

Commenting on the NLD statement, U Win Myint, an NLD central committee member, said his party’s statement was based on the points discussed in the meeting.

He said his party was looking for more concrete discussions, including constitutional reform.

“To introduce reform, we need to review the three pillars, namely the legislature, executive and judiciary pillars,” he added.

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 January 2015 14:38