KAWHMU, MYANMAR - OCTOBER 24:  Aung Sun Suu Kyi, leader of Myanmar's National League for Democracy Party, campaigns in her constituency on October 24, 2015 in Kawhmu, Myanmar. Suu Kyi has been the parlimentary representative of Kawhmu since the 2012 bi-elections and has created new roads and a hospitality training school to increase prosperity in the constituency. Myanmar's elections are scheduled for November 8, 2015 and will be the fairest in the country's history.  (Photo by Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images)
New role created for Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi
01:43 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Role of State Counselor created to allow Aung San Suu Kyi a role in government

Suu Kyi is leader of the ruling party but constitutionally barred from the highest office

CNN  — 

Party leader and longtime democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi has been given a position in Myanmar’s government – one created especially for her.

The post of State Counselor was created by the Hluttaw, Myanmar’s parliament, over the objections of the military’s representatives, which hold a quarter of the body’s seats. It allows her to “contact ministries, departments, organizations, associations and individuals” in an official capacity, and makes her accountable to parliament, Myanmar’s state media reports.

While Suu Kyu is barred from holding the office of president, the new position is widely expected to allow her to rule by proxy.

Who is Aung San Suu Kyi?


The military, which held power for decades, says that the position violates the separation of powers laid out in the country’s constitution.

Military Member of Parliament Maung Maung said that the bill, which was pushed through the Upper and Lower Houses by the newly-elected majority government of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) Party, amounted to “democratic bullying,” the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.

Suu Kyi, who has been the figurehead of the at-times banned party throughout its existence, is barred from becoming the country’s president by virtue of a clause written into the constitution which excludes anyone with family members who hold foreign nationality. Both of Suu Kyi’s adult sons are British citizens, as was her late husband.

Others were also critical of the bill, according to the New Light of Myanmar, arguing that the new government’s priorities should lie in enacting laws that benefit the public, such as releasing political prisoners, rather than shoring up its power base.

The party was also criticized for not paying attention to the plight of the Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority not recognized nor wanted by Myanmar’s government.

Myanmar’s shame: Life inside Rohingya ghettos

In November of last year, the NLD swept national elections, taking around 80% of the available seats. Her longtime confidante Htin Kyaw was sworn in as the country’s first democratically-elected president in March, ending 56 years of military rule.