Burma Times: 13 August 2015
Myanmar security forces have entered the headquarters of the country’s ruling party as it holds a conference on upcoming elections, according to the son of the powerful speaker, who says there are also “guards” at his father’s house.
The moves come amid an ongoing tussle for control of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) ahead of the November elections.
Several trucks of soldiers and police officers arrived at the compound at around 10:00pm (local time) on Wednesday.
“Police entered the party compound last night (Wednesday),” Toe Naing Mann, the son of parliament speaker and USDP leader Shwe Mann, said Thursday morning.
“Since then no one was allowed in or out.”
He added that “so-called guards” were also at his father’s residence in the capital Naypyidaw.
Political tensions are high ahead of the country’s planned November 8 polls, which many hope will be the freest in decades.
They are set to be contested by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was a thorn in the side of the previous junta regime with her years of campaigns for democracy.
Toe Naing Mann, who said he was monitoring the situation through contacts from Yangon, said it was not clear what was behind the move by security personnel late Wednesday.
“It is strange that armed forces have restricted a political party in this way,” he said.
Recent months have seen growing talk of animosity between Shwe Mann and Myanmar president Thein Sein, both former generals who shed their uniforms to take part in controversial 2010 polls that heralded a new quasi-civilian government which has since ushered in sweeping reforms.
The USDP has been the vehicle for the former junta elites to metamorphose from soldiers to MPs.
Shwe Mann has publicly welcomed the idea of working closely with Ms Suu Kyi and has set himself up in opposition to the still powerful army on key issues — including on constitutional reform debates that centre on reducing the military’s political power.
On Wednesday, senior USDP member Aung Ko said that the party had received “more than a hundred” applications from recently retired military officers and cabinet ministers looking to stand in the elections for the party.