Myanmar’s military lawmakers made clear their opposition to a bill to create a powerful new presidential advisory role for Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday by refusing to take part in a lower house of parliament vote on it.
The bill, which creates a state counselor position enabling Suu Kyi to work in both in the executive and legislative branches of government, passed in the lower house but not before raising tension between the military and Suu Kyi’s party.
Suu Kyi, who led her National League for Democracy to a sweeping election victory in November, is barred from becoming president under the military-drafted constitution because her children are not Myanmar citizens.
She has vowed to govern from “above the president”.
Under the constitution, the military, which ruled for nearly 50 years after seizing power in 1962, holds a quarter of seats in parliament and three important ministries.
Near the end of the parliamentary session, military lawmakers stood en masse in an apparent sign of protest against the bill’s passage.
Lower house speaker Win Myint, admonished the officers, telling them to be seated and that they already had a chance to discuss the bill.
The bill will make its way to the president’s office, where it is likely to be quickly signed into law by President Htin Kyaw, a handpicked confidant of Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi, who originally held four cabinet positions when the government took power on Friday, relinquished the energy and electric power and education portfolios.