No Military Reshuffle after Top Brass Meet

Despite expectations that Snr-Gen Than Shwe would reshuffle senior military leaders in preparation for the 2010 election, he transferred no one and ended the quarterly military meeting by playing golf.

The meeting, which ended on Nov. 27, was attended by more than 150 high-ranking military leaders including members of the ruling military council, regional commanders of the army, navy and air force, department chiefs from the War Office and cabinet ministers.

“We expected a major reshuffle in the Tatmadaw [the Burmse military] and cabinet ministers, but nothing happened,” said the personal assistant to a commander of a light infantry division.

Government-run newspapers published no official announcements of the quarterly meeting. Burmese political observers inside and outside of the country had speculated that a major reshuffle in preparation for the 2010 military-sponsored election would take place at the meeting.

Rangoon-based politicians wanted Than Shwe to approve the country’s election law, which would authorize an election in 2010 and the constitutional backing for the Burmese armed forces to retain at least 25 percent of parliamentary seats.

Meanwhile, a rumor going round dissident circles said Snr-Gen Than Shwe reportedly said he does not want to free Suu Kyi before the election in 2010, even though some senior military officers want her released to decrease international pressure on the military regime.

The US has been calling on the regime to free Suu Kyi and allow her to contest in the election.

The Burmese military dictators have dominated politics in Burma for over 40 years. They last held an election in 1990 but refused to hand the country over to the National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi, which won a landslide victory.

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