Source: Problems of Succession Delaying Than Shwe's Resignation
An informed source from Rangoon told S.H.A.N. recently that several unsettled questions of succession has been delaying Rangoon's announcement of a new lineup without the outgoing Senior General Than Shwe.
After a series of brainstorming sessions between U Ne Win, still believed to be the junta's main arbiter, and his daughter, Daw Sanda Win, a satisfactory formula for the next lineup is still illusive following the projected resignation of Senior General Than Shwe, the current Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, said the source.
According to the proposed arrangement, she said, General Than Shwe, on his retirement, should be taking over the Union Solidarity and Development Association, the junta's mass organization and party, while General Maung Aye would succeed as Chairman, SPDC, and Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Services. The premiership, however, would be falling in Gen. Khin Nyunt's lap. "This is a major departure from the previous formula, when the chairman, by virtue of his position, also became defense chief as well as head of the government," she said.
She added that advisers had been pushing to adopt the "Chinese" way, where military commanders are taking back seats to "politicians".
"However, problems have also arisen. For instance, Gen. Than Shwe has been sort of an acceptable pivot between Maung Aye and Khin Nyunt. So, with Than Shwe gone, who is going to be the new axis?"
"Right now, regional commanders have immense power and money, much more so than the government ministers. So the question is: Is there any way to make sure that the army shall follow orders from the government, and not vice versa? Or is there at least any form in which both can work together to offset each other and not upset each other? Is there any guarantee that Maung Aye and his clique will toe the line?"
The source said so far the father-and-daughter team had yet to find satisfactory solutions.
Another source added: "Many are expecting the announcement of the new line-up before the year 2000 is over."
As for funds, the junta does not seem to be unduly concerned. "They somehow take it for granted that whatever they do, they'll be bailed out by the Chinese and the Japanese."